Is it Harassment?

An individual arrested for criminal harassment may have the opportunity to get out on bail.

Bail involves posting money or property with cash value to the court in return for getting out of jail. After showing up for their court date, a person will receive their bail back.

For someone people, posting bail isn’t as easy as giving money or property to the court as collateral. Their family members typically contact a bail bondsman to get the accused of out of jail. The accused or their family member pays the bail bond a premium and sometimes collateral to get out of jail. The premium is usually 10 percent of the bond. Collateral can be a car, house or any other valuable property. The bail bondsman pays the full amount of the bail and is responsible for the accused appearing at their court date.

Is It Harassment?

After a bail bondsman post bail for the accused, the focus becomes proving their innocence in their criminal case. A bail bondsman isn’t an attorney and doesn’t work on the case. The accused and their attorney work to prove their innocence. Criminal harassment has specific elements a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to win a conviction.

Harassment is a course of conduct placing an alleged victim in fear of their safety. The course of conduct includes, but it’s it limited to:
• Assault
• Offensive touching
• Any physical interference the alleged victim’s daily activities or movement
• Cyberbullying
• Following the alleged victim around
• Repeating communicating with the alleged victim’s family or anyone who knows them

A person commits the continued course of conduct to provoke, threaten, annoy or cause emotional distress. The conduct must be intentional to be charged with harassment.

The specific criminal harassment elements a prosecutor must prove varies depending on the state where the accused is charged. If the alleged harassment occurs over state lines, the charge becomes a federal crime.

Is Stalking Harassment?

In some states stalking is separate from harassment. In other states, they are the same charge. Stalking involves a pattern of behavior such as repeatedly showing up at the alleged victim’s home or job to threaten or annoy them.

Menacing is often a separate crime than harassment. Menacing involves repeated, on-going actions like stalking an alleged victim to cause them reasonable fear. Although it sounds a lot like stalking and harassment it’s not in many states. Menacing can be one act done with the intent to create reasonable fear in a victim. An example of this is a person being accused of brandishing a weapon to an alleged victim.

Is Criminal Harassment and Civil Harassment the same Crime?

No. Civil harassment isn’t a criminal act. Civil harassment involves any behavior that scares or annoys someone done without a legitimate reason. It includes repeated phone calls and watching an alleged victim without their consent. A person typically doesn’t go to prison for civil harassment. An alleged victim gets a temporary restraining order. A restraining order is a court order for the accused to stay away from the alleged victim or go to jail.

A temporary restraining order may last days or a couple years. After a court date, a judge may decide to make the temporary restraining order permanent. Criminal harassment may involve a jury or bench trial. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, the accused may go to prison or jail if convicted.

Harassment is a group of behaviors directed at one person or a group of people. It’s meant to annoy, terrorize, alarm or torment an alleged victim. Harassment is involved in specific intent. This means a person can’t claim they didn’t do it on purpose. Anyone arrested for criminal harassment has only been charged, not found guilty. They must work with their attorney to build a defense that proves their innocence. They must also appear at their court hearings to avoid forfeiting any money paid to and/or collateral pledged to a bail bond agency to get them out of jail.


Also Read: Workplace Harassment Law in California

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