New York Harassment Lawyer

Harassment under New York Penal Law can be a violation-level offense, a misdemeanor, or even a felony – depending on the severity of the alleged action. To determine the seriousness of a potential charge, law enforcement may examine both the actions of the accused and the party against whom these actions were taken.

It is important to take any allegation of harassment seriously. Even for a violation-level offense, the alleged victims may push for protective orders that prevent contact with the defendant or that may force the defendant out of a shared home. If you were charged with any level of harassment, contact a skilled New York harassment lawyer who could examine the details of your charges and fight aggressively in court. Let a qualified assault attorney pursue the best possible outcome for you.

What Actions Count as Harassment?

In simple terms, harassment is any action taken by one person with the express purpose of annoying or alarming another person. As provided in New York Penal Law §240.26, harassment in the second degree may involve:

  • Any physical conduct intended to annoy another person
  • Any following of a person in a public place
  • Any actions taken by a person that result in alarm without serving a legitimate purpose

Harassment in the second-degree is classified as a violation, which means the maximum penalty a court can impose following a conviction is 15 days in jail. Harassment in the first-degree is a class B misdemeanor, meaning the maximum jail sentence is increased to three months. Actions that constitute harassment in the first degree under New York Penal Code §240.25 involve the repeated and intentional following of another person in a public place or acting in a way that another person reasonably fears physical harm as a result.

Aggravating Factors in New York Harassment Cases

Harassment becomes much more serious with the presence of aggravating factors. These factors can include:

  • The use of a telephone or computer to send threatening messages
  • Physical contact against a person because of their race, sex, gender, or religion
  • Physical contact against a person in an attempt to intimidate a family member
  • The use of any form of force or intimidation against another person designed to denigrate another’s religion, race, or sex, including the use of swastikas, nooses, or burning crosses

Most charges of aggravated harassment are class A misdemeanors under New York Penal Law §240.30, which means that a conviction could result in up to one year in jail. However, allegations involving religious or racial intimidation may be upgraded to class E felonies under New York Penal Law §240.31. This may result in a prison term of up to four years. A New York harassment lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that a person may face.

How a New York Harassment Attorney Could Help

Harassment can involve anything from annoying touching to religious or racial intimidation, with potential penalties ranging from mundane fines to significant prison sentences. Even a misdemeanor-level conviction could result in a criminal record that may affect employment opportunities and housing options.

In the event you find yourself facing harassment charges, a New York harassment lawyer could work to achieve your desired outcome, whether that be to reach a fair plea deal to avoid jail time or to fight the charges at trial. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about the options that may be available to you.