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New York City Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree

Generally, people have an understanding of what the word “harassment” means, but in the New York Penal Law it has a specific connotation. It goes beyond just a minor bother to another person, the actor must intend to cause some sort of real reaction.

Because of the personal nature of this offense, Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree in New York City frequently occurs between people who are familiar or acquainted, especially between spouses or those in a romantic relationship. Also, it is frequently not the only offense charged as the result of some domestic incident. Usually, there are accompanying charges of menacing, assault, stalking, or disorderly conduct, all of which increase the severity of the situation.

What is the Role of Intent in Aggravated Harassment Charges?

One factor that must be proven across the board is the existence of intent. To convict the person accused, the prosecution needs to show that the defendant purposely harassed or threatened the alleged victim. If there was the individual did not purposely try to harass or threaten the alleged victim, the prosecution’s case may falter. Because New York Penal Law §240.30 outlines several circumstances that qualify as aggravated harassment in the second degree, many of the factors required to meet the burden of proof and show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt come down to the details of the alleged act.

The most common charges under this statute relate to phone calls. A person is guilty of this crime if they initiate any form of communication with the intent to harass or threaten another person. This communication does not necessarily need to be over the phone, it is just the most common way for people to communicate their threats or vent their anger.

A person may still face charges under this section if the communication is made via email, text, letter, or direct social media message. The method of communication is irrelevant, it is the content that are the foundation of the charges. Even if these phone calls are made in the heat of the moment and the person has no real intention of ever committing any of the acts threatened, the person can be found guilty under the statute just for making the call.

What are the Penalties for Second Degree Aggravated Harassment?

This crime is a class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail if convicted, the same level offense as assault in the third degree or driving while intoxicated. Even though a person may think that one ill-conceived phone call is not a big deal, it can have significant repercussions on a person’s life and employment and needs to be taken seriously.

It is not unusual for this charge to leveled alongside other criminal allegations, such as a domestic violence offense. If that is the case, a person in New York City could face additional penalties on top of the second-degree aggravated harassment charge.

Speak with a New York City Attorney About Harassment in the Second Degree

If a domestic incident leads to an arrest, having an attorney who knows how to navigate both the legal and personal aspects of a case is paramount. The experienced New York City defense attorneys at our firm have handled countless cases arising from domestic disputes and have a proven track record in dealing with harassment and related charges. If you need help dealing with charges for New York City aggravated harassment in the second degree, call our office for your free case consultation.

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