Harassment Lawyer St. Louis, MO. Despite our best efforts, sometimes people don’t always get along well with each other. Maybe someone did something that you took the wrong way, or hurt someone you care about, and you decided to react accordingly. However, the line between simply losing your temper with someone and what Missouri law defines as harassment is a lot finer than you would expect.
Combs Law Group, an experienced St. Louis criminal defense law firm, is here to help you if you have been accused by someone of criminal harassment charges. We can help guide you through the legal process and inform you of all your rights when it comes to harassment. Call us today at (314) 900-HELP for more information or to speak with an attorney.
What Constitutes Harassment in Missouri?
Missouri law defines harassment as “engaging in an act that causes someone else emotional distress, without good cause”. Emotional distress is itself defined as “causing someone emotional distress that is more significant than the level commonly experienced as part of day-to-day living”.
Common actions that are seen as harassment by courts include, but are not limited to:
- Threatening to commit a crime with the intent of frightening or intimidating another person
- Using offensive language to the point where another person believes they are at risk of physical harm
- Anonymously contacting a person (via phone call, email, text message, or social media) with the intent of frightening, intimidating, or otherwise causing them emotional distress
- Knowingly communicating with a minor (a person under the age of 18) to frighten, intimidate, or cause them emotional distress
- Repeatedly making unwanted communications with someone
- Acting in a way that frightens, intimidates, or otherwise causes someone emotional distress without good cause, considering their age and sensibilities
Missouri’s Laws Regarding Harassment
The state of Missouri defines two different degrees of harassment: the difference between the two is minor. First-degree harassment is seen as when “someone, without good cause, causes another person emotional distress” in one of the ways listed above. Second-degree harassment, though, is defined as when “someone, without good cause, engages in an act with the purpose of causing emotional distress” in any of those said ways.
While that difference may seem minor on its face, it can be very important when your Missouri harassment case goes in front of a judge. Second-degree harassment is in most cases a class A misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. However, if your charge is a first-degree one, it could be a class E felony, which has a maximum penalty of four years in state prison. Repeat offenders, and those harassing minors, are also subject to felony charges.
Contact A Reputable St. Louis Harassment Attorney
While harassment is a somewhat subjective charge, it will cause you serious difficulty if it is put in your criminal record. You may feel that what you did was legitimate or potentially even worth it, but the law–and employers, volunteer organizations, and anyone else who conducts a background check–will not know this. To them, they will just see a potentially disqualifying conviction.
If you want to prevent your life from being derailed by harassment charges, you need to talk to a reputable St. Louis criminal defense law firm like Combs Law Group. We will fight your harassment charges aggressively and ensure that they are minimized or even dismissed, so you can keep your rights and freedoms. Contact us today for a free case evaluation so we can begin to work with you as soon as possible.