Introduction To St. Louis Harassment Charges
We don’t all get along all the time – sometimes people do something that rubs you the wrong way or hurts someone you love, and you react accordingly. The thing is, the line between simply losing your temper with someone and what can be called harassment is much finer than you might expect.
So how is harassment defined in Missouri? Do you need to worry about a recent conflict?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about harassment charges in Missouri.
What Constitutes Harassment in Missouri?
In Missouri, Harassment is defined as engaging in an act to cause someone else emotional distress, without good cause. Emotional distress is a term that is defined as causing someone emotional distress that is more significant than the level commonly experienced in day-to-day living.
This may be caused by:
- Threatening to commit a felony crime with the intention to frighten, intimidate, or otherwise cause another person emotional distress
- Using offensive language to the point where another person believes they are at risk of physical harm
- Anonymously contacting a person via a phone call or electronic communication to frighten, intimidate, or otherwise cause emotional distress
- Knowingly communicating with a child (17 years or younger) to frighten, intimidate, or otherwise cause emotional distress
- Repeatedly making unwanted communication with someone
- Acting in a way that frightens, intimidates, or otherwise causes emotional distress without good cause, considering their sensibilities and age
What are the Different Degrees of Harassment?
There are two different degrees, first degree and second degree. What distinguishes a first-degree harassment charge and a second-degree harassment charge is minimal.
It is a first-degree harassment charge if someone, without good cause, causes another person emotional distress in any of the ways outlined in the section above.
It’s a second-degree harassment charge if someone, without good cause, engages in an act with the purpose of causing emotional distress in any of the ways outlined in the section above.
Is Harassment a Felony in Missouri?
It can be. In most cases, harassment is a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Second-degree harassment charges are a class A misdemeanor. If it’s a first-degree charge, it may be a class E felony, which carries a maximum punishment of 4 years in jail.
If the harassment is by an adult (21 years or over) toward a child (17 years or younger) it is a class D felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.
Similarly, if this is a second harassment charge, or second charge in this subsection, (regardless of state) it will also be a class D felony.
What Should I Do If I Believe I’ll Be Charged for Harassment?
Harassment is fairly subjective but will cause you serious difficulty if it is put on your criminal record. While the circumstances of the charge may have felt legitimate – and even worth it – to you, future employers and anyone doing a background check won’t know this. To prevent your life from being derailed, you need a criminal defense lawyer to get your charges minimized.
That’s exactly what we do, Combs Law Group will fight harassment charges aggressively to ensure your charges are minimized or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free case evaluation so we can start working on your case as soon as possible.