The term Harassment (C.R.S. 18-9-111) makes my skin crawl. It is one of the most frequently used accusations when some people don’t get what they want. I don’t want to be cynical, and I know there are legitimate times when this crime should be charged. However, in my 28 years of practicing criminal law across Colorado and in the Denver metropolitan area, I have seen the Harassment statute abused by citizens, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and magistrates (you can even be accused of Harassment for online behavior).
The Government is Too Involved in Our Lives
It is my belief that we have handed our ability to settle disputes over to the government. This is both good and bad. It is clear that a civilized society needs laws to prevent people from settling arguments in violent ways. We need laws to protect us from those with “hair-trigger” anger, but too often people call the police as a first resort: Even before thinking about talking out differences. As a whole, I believe we have become relationally lazy and use law enforcement as a way to settle differences.
What is Harassment? How is it Charged?
There are five general ways someone can be charged with Harassment in Jefferson, Weld, or Adams County, or anywhere in Colorado. They are:
- Physical contact
- Obscene language
- Obscene gestures
- Making unwanted communications
- Insulting someone
If a person does any of these things with the intent to harass or annoy another person, he or she can be charged with Harassment. It should be noted that “physical contact” can be the slightest contact with another person.
Everyone is Guilty of this Offense at Some Point in their Lives
After looking at the ways a person can be charged with Harassment, you may wonder if everyone has been guilty of this misdemeanor at some point in their life. Can anyone really say they have not flipped off someone while driving I-25 through Douglas County? If not that, can anyone say they have never touched someone in the middle of an argument, or sent an email to a person who has said they didn’t want to be contacted? Many times the only thing that stands between you and a Harassment charge is the restraint of decent people. But what happens when someone decides to be indecent and accuse you of harassment?
Why You Need an Experienced Harassment Attorney
From Ouray to Lincoln County, the lawyers at O’Malley law office have many years of experience defending clients charged with Harassment. We listen to your story, and know how to discuss it with prosecutors in a way they understand. If need be, we will aggressively defend your case to a jury.
A criminal record, even a misdemeanor can have a lasting negative impact on your life, so I urge you to “be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.”
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