The general definition of harassment is any action taken by one person with the express purpose to annoy or alarm another person. Harassment can be seen on many different levels and thus can be considered present in many different circumstances. So, if you have been accused of harassment, you must understand the full breadth of consequences that you may be up against. Read on to discover what constitutes a harassment charge and how a seasoned Rockland County criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway can work to fully assess the implications of your case.
What constitutes the different types of harassment charges in New York State?
According to New York law, there are four different types of harassment that are punishable by significant penalties. They are as follows:
- Harassment in the second degree.
- Harassment in the first degree.
- Aggravated harassment in the second degree.
- Aggravated harassment in the first degree.
Firstly, harassment in the second degree is considered if you conduct any minor physical contact with another person. Such minor physical contact may include hitting, shoving, or kicking another person. The same goes even if you attempt to or threaten to conduct such minor physical contact.
A step above this is harassment in the first degree, which is applicable if you intentionally and repeatedly harass another person by performing any of the following actions:
- Following another person in a public place.
- Engaging in a course of conduct in which another person experiences reasonable fear of bodily injury.
Then, there is aggravated harassment in the second degree, which applies if you intend to annoy or alarm another person, but do not necessarily commit third-degree assault. This can either be conducted via a phone call, or any other communication method, or by physical contact.
And while any harassment charge is taken seriously, considered to be the most serious one is aggravated harassment in the first degree. This is if you intend to annoy or alarm another person because of the following reasons:
- National origin.
- Sexual orientation.
This type of harassment may include damaging religious property, setting a cross on fire, or defacing property with offensive imagery.
What are the penalties for the different types of harassment charges in New York State?
With the wide range of actions that fall into the different types of harassment charges comes a wide range of penalties. Since harassment in the second degree is only considered a violation, you will not have to serve any time in jail or pay any fines.
This is not the case for harassment in the first degree. This is considered a class B misdemeanor, so you may be facing up to 90 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. Aggravated harassment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor that comes with up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. And lastly, aggravated harassment in the first degree is a class E felony that is associated with anywhere between one to four years in jail.
If you are facing any of the above charges, contact our firm today.