If you have been arrested, charged or are facing criminal investigation for the crime of harassment, you should call The Hampton Law Firm now to determine what your legal rights and options are under Texas law. Due to the increased use of smart phones and other electronic devices, harassment charges have become a common criminal charge in Tarrant County, Texas. Under Texas Penal Code, Section 42.07, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office must prove the following elements of harassment beyond a reasonable doubt:
A person commits an offense of harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:
- Initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
- Threatens, by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of his family or household, or his property;
- Conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;
- Causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;
- Makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
- Knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or
sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
- Texas law is specific in defining whether a communication is obscene. According to Texas Penal Code, Section 42.07(b)(3), “Obscene” means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.
One of the most common scenarios where a citizen of Tarrant County is charged with harassment is when someone claims they are being harassed by text messages. It is important to understand that the decision to arrest someone for harassment can be based upon the subjective opinion of the alleged victim. It is critical that the facts of your case be investigated by an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney so that an objective determination as to whether the elements of harassment can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The crime of harassment is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine. If the State of Texas can prove that you have a previous conviction for harassment, the charge will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 1 year and up to a $4,000 fine. In addition to ensuring you spend no time in jail, the number one priority of your criminal lawyer should be to fight to ensure this allegation does not remain on your criminal record.
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation and an opportunity to speak to me about the facts of your case and the options you have under Texas law. Call Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-877-5200.