Harassment charges are often levied when going through a difficult break-up in a relationship. However, you still have Constitutional rights, and your behavior may have been misrepresented or even lied about when a police report was made against you.
Harassment charges can even come about due to accusations from people you have never met, if phone calls or social media messages were reported to the police as harassment. Even if you have never been to Alabama, a person in Alabama can accuse you of sending harassing communications and you can be prosecuted here in Alabama. In such a case, you will need an Alabama criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Huntsville Harassment Charge Defense Lawyer
Our experienced attorneys at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal will stand up for you and your rights if you've been charged with harassment. We will carefully review your case, looking for weaknesses or contradictions in the accusations against you, and work towards getting your charges dismissed.
Harassment cases often involve a great deal of emotion. At The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal, we are passionate about defending people from false accusations. Call us today at (256) 533-4529 for your free consultation where we can review the accusations against you.
We are experienced criminal defense lawyers. Sandra Segal worked as a prosecutor for the Huntsville City Attorney's Office. Andrew Segal has worked in both the Alabama Attorney General's Office and the Madison County District Attorney's Office. Since harassment charges carry such a negative stigma, having an attorney who is respected by judges, juries, and even prosecutors will be a huge help for you.
If you've been charged with harassment anywhere in the Huntsville-Decatur area, including Madison, Limestone, Morgan, Marshall, or Jackson County contact us as soon as possible.
Harassment in Alabama
Harassment is defined by Ala. Code Ann. § 13A-11-8(a) as touching or subjecting a person to physical contact with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm that person. Harassment also includes threats that a person intends to carry out that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety. This includes both verbal or nonverbal threats, such as brandishing a weapon at someone or raising a fist and moving towards someone.
The similar crime of harassing communications is defined by Ala. Code Ann. § 13A-11-8(b) as any of the following:
- Communicating with a person by phone, mail, social media messaging, or any other form of communication in a manner likely to harass or cause alarm
- Making a phone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication, for example making hang-up calls to harass someone
- Lewd or obscene phone calls made with intent to alarm or harass a person.
Thus, in addition to direct threats, just about any unwanted lewd or obscene phone calls, voice mails, text messages, and social media messages can be prosecuted under this law.
This does not include what are defined as legitimate business telephone communications, so unfortunately you probably can't get a debt collector prosecuted under this law except in extreme circumstances, such as if a debt collector threatens you or your family with violence or calls multiple times repeatedly over the day on a regular basis.
You can be charged with under Alabama law in an Alabama court even if you do not live in and have never been to Alabama if you are accused of sending a harassing communication to someone in Alabama. In this case, you will have to hire an attorney who is licensed in Alabama to represent you in court.
Harassing people in person, over the phone, or via social media can also result in other charges such as stalking, menacing, or disorderly conduct. Harassment at school or the workplace can also result in civil lawsuits and other legal difficulties.
Penalties for Harassment in Alabama
Both harassment and harassing communications are Class C misdemeanors, and conviction can result in:
- Up to 3 months in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
In addition, you will have a permanent criminal record that will show up if an employer, landlord, or other person does a background check on you. If you have a conviction for harassment on your record, this can also give the upper hand to an opposing party in civil and family law proceedings, such as child custody disputes and divorces.
Defenses to a Harassment Charge
Just because someone is annoyed with you does not mean you lose your first amendment rights. You still have the right to express your opinion to others, even if it makes them angry.
The prosecution must also prove that you intended to harass, annoy, or alarm someone. If your behavior was innocent and only annoyed a person who is oversensitive, you should not be convicted of harassment. For example, if you tell someone you are going to ‘kick their butt', and the threat was not serious, no other threats were made, there is no evidence you had a hostile or angry demeanor, and the circumstances indicate a lack of seriousness, you should not be convicted of harassment.
While the prosecution must prove that you intended to carry out the threats to convict you of harassment under Ala. Code Ann. § 13A-11-8(a)(2), you can still be convicted of making harassing communications even if you never intended to carry out the threat.
As with other charges that often come in relationship to domestic disputes, harassment charges are often based on false accusations and misunderstandings.
Many people who are otherwise law abiding can find themselves in trouble with the law due to a bad break-up of a relationship. If you do not have any prior criminal record, it is likely that with the help of a skilled and experienced Huntsville criminal defense attorney you will not have to go to jail.
Resources Related to Harassment in the Huntsville Area
Harassment charges are prosecuted by the Madison County District Attorney's office. To contact the Madison County District Attorney's office about pressing charges against someone who is harassing you, you can use their online contact form or:100 North Side Square
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
Finding the Best Harassment Charge Defense Attorney in Madison County Alabama
If you are facing harassment charges, let the Huntsville criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices Of Segal & Segal take up you cause. We have experience defending people from false claims and wrongful charges.
If you've been arrested for harassment anywhere in the Huntsville area, including Madison, Athens, Decatur, or Albertsville, call (256) 533-4529 today to set up a free consultation with our firm.