What is the Meaning of Harassment?
Harassment could refer to either civil harassment or criminal harassment. The cases of civil harassment are usually settled in court and are brought forward based on discrimination, whereas the cases of criminal harassment come under state law. Criminal harassment is targeting a person intentionally, annoying them, tormenting them, or deliberately terrorizing them. Annoyances do not necessarily include petty behavior. A credible threat classifies the behavior into criminal harassment.
There are various forms of harassment, which includes physically stalking a person, cyberstalking, behaving in an alarmingly unreasonable manner when following the person, and so on. Stalking is considered to be harassment in certain states, while some states treat stalking as a separate form of harassment. There are also a few other states that classify stalking as ta form of menacing. Then there is Cyberstalking. Cyberstalking or misuse of electronic communication devices and networks is punishable under some state laws.
As we have seen, state laws vary, here are a few examples of what constitutes harassment and how it is classified. We have provided four examples that might help you get an understanding of harassment.
First Degree Harassment:
- Stalking a person, following them, and intentionally threatening a person falls under first-degree harassment.
- When a person is harassed repeatedly by another individual who happens to behave in a manner that places the person in reasonable fear for their life, this constitutes the First Degree harassment. It is classified as a class B misdemeanor.
Second Degree Harassment:
- Intentionally annoying, alarming, and harassing a person could be considered as second-degree harassment.
- Physical strikes, kicks, shoves, or other forms of physical threatening physical contact, or the threat of doing these things, following the person, and behaving in an alarming manner for which there is no reasonable excuse all come under second-degree harassment.
First Degree Aggravated Harassment:
To be guilty of second degree aggravated harassment:
- A person has to anonymously leave messages or calls for another person causing annoyance or alarm. It also includes any form of communication started by a person causing alarm and annoyance.
- A persona makes blank or silent calls with no intent of communicating.
- A person who strikes, kicks, shoves or threatens to do physical harm by discrimination based on religion, age, sexual orientation, or gender.
- A person who commits first-degree harassment or has a history of harassment in the first degree within the previous ten years.
Second Degree Aggravated Harassment:
When the intent to harm, annoy, threaten or alarm a person arises based on discrimination involving gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, ancestry, or religious practice, it is considered to be first degree aggravated harassment. It is also known as Aggravated harassment in the first degree. It is considered to be a class E felony.
To be guilty of Aggravated Harassment in the first degree:
- A person has to cause damage to premises used for religious purposes and damages to exceed fifty dollars.
- A person who has committed crimes that make him guilty of Aggravated Harassment in the second degree or has a history of harassment and has been convicted for the harassment within the previous ten years.
With the threat hanging over your head, you can get a restraining order or an order of protection to keep the harassers away. We have provided you with information that should help you identify whether or not you are dealing with harassment. The state laws may vary, but criminal harassment is a punishable crime in the US. For more information, consult a lawyer.