Harassment in Arizona is defined by A.R.S. §13-2921, which states that this charge may be applied when a person acts with intention to harass someone else or instigates communication that would cause a reasonable person to become alarmed, feel annoyed or harassed, and the situation does indeed create the intended response. The method use to harass another person may involve electronic, telephonic or verbal communication. It could also occur when a person follows another individual and refuses to stop when asked. Multiple false reports to law enforcement, credit or child protection agencies could also fall under the definition of harassment if the instances can be proven to be done with intent to alarm another individual.
An attempt to harass a public officer or official by filing a non-consensual lien against the individual without a court judgment or official document restricting actual property can also fall under this statute if it is determined that a person did so with the intention of “getting even” with the official involved.
Potential Punishments for Harassment
When a government official is involved and a non-authorized lien has been filed, this charge will be classified as a class five felony. The possible punishments include the following:
- Probation with up to one year in jail, or;
- Six to two and one-half years incarceration in prison
- One to three and three-fourths years in prison for one prior conviction
- Three to seven and one-half years in prison for two prior convictions
If the victim is not a government official and no lien has been filed, then this charge will be classified as a class one misdemeanor. The possible punishments for this classification include the following:
- Probation with up to six months in jail
- A $2,500 fine with an 84 percent surcharge
- Zero days to three years of probation
- Possible mandatory classes and counseling sessions
Potential Defenses For Harassment
An effective defense that can be used in situations where a person was picketing or taking part in a demonstration is to exercise a person’s right to free speech and assembly. Another common situation in which a person is falsely accused of attempting to harass another frequently occurs in divorce situations when one person attempts to have the other parent convicted of a crime so they can use it as leverage in a custody battle. After interviewing witnesses and others involved in the case, it is often possible to demonstrate that the accusation was a retaliatory act that is not grounded in truth.
In addition to these defenses, our attorneys take a well-rounded approach to every case and may find that other strategies may apply. After reviewing a defendant’s case, we may uncover mistakes that were made during the investigative process by law enforcement officers that can challenge the validity of the charges. For example, sloppily written police reports, denial of legal counsel and inaccurate forensic testing could all be used to defend these charges. If a defendant made statements before they were read their Miranda rights, then we can have these statements suppressed before they are revealed in court.
If you have been charged with harassment in Arizona, it is important for to have a lawyer working on your case immediately to gather evidence that could be used in your defense. At DM Cantor, we are available 24-hours a day and 7 days a week at 602-737-2812. You can also click here to fill out our online form to get a free and confidential consultation today.