Harassment in Arizona (A.R.S. §13-2921)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-2921 “Harassment” occurs when a person, with the intent to harass another person, causes a communication with another person (either verbal, electronic, telephonic, or otherwise) which would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed, and the conduct does in fact seriously alarm, annoy, or harass another person. This can occur if a person continues to follow another person in a public place for no legitimate purpose after being asked to desist; if the person repeatedly commits act or acts that harass another person; if they surveil a person for no legitimate purpose; and if on more than one (1) occasion they make a false report to law enforcement, credit or social services agency regarding another person.
Harassment can also occur against a public officer or employee if the person files a non-consensual lien against any public officer or employee (without an official court judgment) or any other document that would restrict real property. In other words, it occurs when a person who wants to “get even” with a public official files a lien with no legitimate cause.
Possible Punishment for Harassment
If the Harassment involves a government official, and the filing of non-authorized liens, then this can be charged as a class five (5) felony. For a first offense class five (5) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail; or prison of six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions then the “prison only” range can is three (3) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration.
If the Harassment involves a non-government official as a victim, who does not have a lien filed against him for a harassing purpose, then this can be charged as a class one (1) misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is probation with anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, and a fine of up to $2500.00 plus an 84% surcharge, and up to three (3) years probation (which can include classes and counseling).
Possible Defenses for Harassment
It is a statutory defense to Harassment if the Defendant has assembled for an otherwise lawful demonstration, picketing, or other assembly (i.e., “Constitutionally Protected Activity”). In other words, you cannot be convicted of Harassment for exercising free speech rights in the political arena. Most often, Harassment charges are brought up when a Divorce or Custody situation is beginning to develop. Often times, one spouse will learn that they can use a criminal conviction as leverage in a custody battle, so they will simply call the police and state that their soon-to-be ex-spouse is “harassing” them. It is important to interview all of the possible witnesses in order to demonstrate to the Prosecutor that this is merely a retaliatory charge. It is also important to bring forward witnesses who would describe the reporting party’s conduct (i.e., are they untruthful, are they known to be vindictive, would they be the type to file a false police report in order to gain leverage in a custody battle, etc.).
The “Common Defenses” for Harassment, which a Harassment Defense Lawyer may apply in any criminal case are numerous and diverse. One of most common defenses we encounter is a “Miranda rights Violation”. In Arizona, the standard of whether any inculpatory statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “Voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their Attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/”cloning hard drive” procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc. Lastly, one of the most common defenses is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Harassment Lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of both the specific defenses and the common defenses involved in a Harassment case.
When looking for a lawyer it is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). In addition, David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. The Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Lawyers for Harassment know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Phoenix Lawyers for Harassment. We will assist you with your Harassment case.