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Harassment vs. Free Speech - C.R.S. 18-9-111

harassment-vs-free-speech.jpgEveryone in Jefferson, Douglas, and Arapahoe County, and throughout Colorado, is protected by the Colorado Harassment statute, C.R.S. 18-9-111. But, like many laws, conflicts with constitutional rights often collide. This is not new! That is why law makers often put language into statutes which define the intentions of people. Words like "intentionally", or "willfully", draw a distinction in cases where someone may unintentionally do something. Trying to discern the intentions of a people can be a very tricky thing to do.

Free Speech Can Legally Create Controversy - and Does!

When citizens exercise free speech, the potential for irritating others increases. This happens because people on opposite sides of issues get overly excited by their differences. The Colorado Harassment statute (C.R.S. 18-9-111) was not intended to keep people from becoming inconvenienced or irritated. However, intolerant people will often use criminal law accusations to quiet their opponents. We have recently seen this very thing when abortion rights people are unwilling to allow pro-life opponents have a voice in Denver County.

The Colorado Harassment statute states that a person commits harassment "if, with intent"... he or she does any of a number of things. Those things include, among others: "harassing, annoying, striking, shoving, kicking, or touching another person". Can you imagine if these things were not qualified with words like intentional? If you entered a crowded Park Meadows Mall and accidentally bumped into someone, you could be arrested. Lawmakers expect courts, or more specifically, judges and jurors, to do the hard job of determining the intentions of defendants.

Innocent Conduct

If a police officer in Denver, Aurora, Littleton, or another municipality believes an accuser, he or she may issue a citation or arrest someone based on nothing more than an accusation. It can be an out of control neighbor or a former girlfriend saying she was being followed. Today, it is also common to see Harassment charges when someone sends a heated email or instant message. In our law practice, once we start looking into the facts, we often see the accuser has harassed our client rather than the other way around. Often, charges are base on called the police first.

Any criminal charge in Adams or Weld County Colorado is a serious thing. In addition to potential jail time, it may keep you from future employment, or create problems with nosy neighbors who like to check criminal records online, and then broadcast their findings.

If you are charged with Harassment in Montezuma or Sedgwick County, or anywhere in between, our advice is always the same, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and then call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.

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