Facing Harassment Charges in NY? You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

In New York, being charged with harassment is a matter that must be taken seriously. If you have been accused of harassment in Brooklyn or the NY metropolitan area, speak with Brooklyn criminal defense attorney Robert Gershon to understand your rights and to protect your freedom.

Brooklyn Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Gershon

Accusations of Criminal Harassment Under New York Law

We all know people who are annoyed by the actions of others. Maybe you have had some tough conversations with an ex. Perhaps you had an altercation with a sales person. Sometimes ordinary interactions can rise to a level where others claim criminal activity has occurred. When your conduct is perceived as extremely persistent and threatening or is accompanied by physical contact (threatened or actual) you may be accused of criminal harassment.

A charge of harassment may sound like a minor offense, but it can carry severe penalties when convicted. Jail, probation, and fines may result from a criminal harassment conviction. Your case will not go away unless someone acts on your behalf. Brooklyn criminal defense attorney Robert S. Gershon may be able to get your charges dropped or reduced, and he can represent you at trial if your case requires.

Criminal Harassment in Brooklyn NY | Robert Gershon Esq Criminal Lawyer and Family Law Attorney

What is Criminal Harassment in New York?

Criminal harassment occurs when a person is believed to have purposely acted to harass, annoy or alarm a victim. This may or may not include physical elements. Cyber activity such as cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying on social media, YouTube, blogs and other online properties can also constitute criminal harassment in New York.

New York Law Divides Criminal Harassment into Categories Based on Severity

New York Penal Law 240.21-240.32 set forth the classifications of criminal harassment. Looking at the types of Criminal Harassment in New York:

Robert Gershon Esq - Criminal Defense Lawyer - Harassment First Degree Brooklyn NY

Harassment in the First Degree

First degree harassment is a Class B misdemeanor. It is the intentional and repeated harassment of another person including:

  • Following someone around in or around in public or repeatedly engaging in conduct which places the victim in reasonable fear of physical injury.

The law provides:

S 240.25 Harassment in the first degree.
A person is guilty of harassment in the first degree when he or she intentionally and repeatedly harasses another person by following such person in or about a public place or places or by engaging in a course of conduct or by repeatedly committing acts which places such person in
reasonable fear of physical injury. This section shall not apply to activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended, the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor management act, as amended.

Harassment in the first degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Harassment in the Second Degree

Harassment in the second degree is a violation. It usually results in an order of protection being issued. It occurs when, with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm a victim, someone in or around public places by:

  • Engaging in conduct or repeatedly commit acts which alarm or seriously annoy the victim with no legitimate purpose.

The law provides:

S 240.26 Harassment in the second degree.
A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

  1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or
  2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or
  3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.

Subdivisions two and three of this section shall not apply to activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended, the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor management act, as amended. Harassment in the second degree is a violation.

Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree

Aggravated harassment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
It occurs when, with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim, someone:

  1. Strikes someone causing injury
  2. Communicates with someone by phone, mail, text, letter in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm,
  3. Makes a call with no legitimate purpose
  4. Strikes or threatens to strike someone on account of actual or perceived sexual orientation, religion, gender, age, disability, race, color, national origin, or ancestry
  5. Is a repeat harasser

The law provides:

S 240.30 Aggravated harassment in the second degree.

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when:

1. With intent to harass another person, the actor either:

  1. communicates, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, by computer or any other electronic means, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering any other form of communication, a threat to cause physical harm to, or unlawful harm to the property of, such person, or a member of such person’s same family or household as defined in subdivision one of section 530.11 of the criminal procedure law, and the actor knows or reasonably should know that such communication will cause such person to reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety or property, or to the physical safety or property of a member of such person’s same family or household; or
  2. causes a communication to be initiated anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, by computer or any other electronic means, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering any other form of communication, a threat to cause physical harm to, or unlawful harm to the property of, such person, a member of such person’s same family or household as defined in subdivision one of section 530.11 of the criminal procedure law, and the actor knows or reasonably should know that such communication will cause such person to reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety or property, or to the physical safety or property of a member of such person’s same family or household; or

2. With intent to harass or threaten another person, he or she makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or

3. With the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects another person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same because of a belief or perception regarding such person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct; or

4. With the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects another person to physical contact thereby causing physical injury to such person or to a family or household member of such person as defined in section 530.11 of the criminal procedure law; or

5. He or she commits the crime of harassment in the first degree and has previously been convicted of the crime of harassment in the first degree as defined by section 240.25 of this article within the preceding ten years.

Aggravated harassment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree

Aggravated harassment in the first degree is a class E felony. It occurs when with the intent to harass threaten or alarm another person because of perceived sexual orientation, religion, gender, age, disability, race, color, national origin, or ancestry:

  • damages premises primarily used for religious purposes
  • depict or otherwise place a swastika on any building, public or private, without the express permission of the property owner
  • depict or place a noose on any building, public or private, without permission of the owner
  • set a cross on fire in public view;
  • have a previous conviction for the same offense

New York also has laws against criminal stalking which can be similar to harassment. The acts and behavior that support criminal charges for these crimes often overlap.

The law provides:

S 240.31 Aggravated harassment in the first degree.

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the first degree when with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, because of a belief or perception regarding such person`s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, he or she:

  1. Damages premises primarily used for religious purposes, or acquired pursuant to section six of the religious corporation law and maintained for purposes of religious instruction, and the damage to the premises exceeds fifty dollars; or
  2. Commits the crime of aggravated harassment in the second degree in the manner proscribed by the provisions of subdivision three of section 240.30 of this article and has been previously convicted of the crime of aggravated harassment in the second degree for the commission of conduct proscribed by the provisions of subdivision three of section 240.30 or he has been previously convicted of the crime of aggravated harassment in the first degree within the preceding ten years.
  3. Etches, paints, draws upon or otherwise places a swastika, commonly exhibited as the emblem of Nazi Germany, on any building or other real property, public or private, owned by any person, firm or corporation or any public agency or instrumentality, without express permission of the owner or operator of such building or real property;
  4. Sets on fire a cross in public view; or
  5. Etches, paints, draws upon or otherwise places or displays a noose, commonly exhibited as a symbol of racism and intimidation, on any building or other real property, public or private, owned by any person, firm or corporation or any public agency or instrumentality, without express permission of the owner or operator of such building or real property.

Aggravated harassment in the first degree is a class E felony.

Contact Brooklyn Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Gershon to Fight Your Harassment Charges

Have you been charged with harassment? Have your actions been misinterpreted by an unintended victim? If you are wrongfully charged with criminal harassment or stalking, there could be serious consequences for you. Please contact Robert S. Gershon, an experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer who handles all types of criminal harassment cases.

Everyone has the right to mount a vigorous defense against criminal charges. Make sure you have someone with skill and experience fighting on your behalf. Robert S. Gershon, P.C., Attorney at Law can protect your legal rights. Call (718) 625-3977 to speak with Robert Gershon, Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer, or email robgershon@gmail.com

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