Nashville Harassment Defense Charge Lawyer
If you’re facing a harassment charge, it’s a serious matter that can lead to nearly a year of jail time and, under certain circumstances, can be charged as a felony, which carries even more considerable penalties. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, you need the skilled legal guidance of an experienced Nashville criminal defense attorney on your side.
The Charge of Harassment
The criminal act of harassment can involve any of the following:
- Intentionally threatening to take certain actions against someone else – either in writing, by phone, or through electronic communication – that are known to be illegal and that are intended to either annoy or alarm them
- Illegally making at least one anonymous phone call or at least one phone call that’s made at an hour known to be inconvenient to the recipient and, as a result, either annoying or alarming them
- Calling someone to falsely inform them of a relative’s ill health, death, or injury
- Engaging in communication with – or transmitting or displaying an image to – someone else with the malicious intent of intimidating them or causing emotional distress
The building blocks of harassment include that these acts have no legitimate purpose, that they are made with the intent of causing annoyance or alarm, and that a reasonable person would perceive the communication in question as threatening. The victim of harassment needn’t suffer physical harm for the charge to apply. Instead, unwelcome behavior that makes the victim feel uncomfortable and threatened suffices.
The Penalties Associated
Harassment is generally charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor classification in Tennessee. A conviction carries up to 11 months and 29 days of jail time and fines of up to $2,500. If the charge is elevated to aggravated harassment, it becomes a Class E felony, which has sentencing ranges that are based on the number of prior offenses, including:
- For Range I – or 0 to 1 prior offenses – the penalty includes from 1 to 2 years behind bars.
- For Range II – or 2 to 4 prior offenses – the penalty includes from 2 to 4 years behind bars.
- For Range III – or 5+ prior offenses – the penalty includes from 4 to 6 years behind bars.
To Qualify as Aggravated
Any of the following can elevate the harassment charge to aggravated:
- The act or acts were committed while incarcerated or on pretrial diversion, probation, parole, or community corrections.
- The harassing communication of the accused was made in person to a victim of their crime.
- The harassing communication in question was made anonymously, was made in an offensively repetitive manner, or was made at an hour known to be inconvenient to the victim.
An Experienced Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Andrew Beasley at Andrew C. Beasley, PLLC, in Nashville, is a former prosecutor whose close understanding of the criminal court system affords him keen legal insight and a unique perspective that serves his clients well. We’re on your side and here to help, so please don’t delay contacting us online or calling us at 615-821-2230 for more information today.