Harassment in Texas | Fort Worth Criminal Defense (817) 203-2220

Feb 22, 2018 @ 9:20 AM

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What is Harassment in Texas?

The criminal offense of harassment is a misdemeanor that focuses on communications made to annoy, alarm, or abuse another. It is closely related the offense of stalking, which is a felony offense.

Harassment charges are often filed after a relationship – personal or professional – goes awry and an individual is accused of calling, texting, or emailing another incessantly. What may first seem like a nuisance can turn into a criminal charge if the individual accused of harassment was making contact with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the other person.

Harassment cases are generally Class B misdemeanors, although if you have been convicted of a harassment case in the past the offense will be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor. Harassment is codified under Penal Code Section 42.07.

Examples of Harassment

  • Harassment can be making incessant telephone calls, emails, or texts that are obscene.
  • Harassment can be threats to inflict bodily harm made in writing, over the phone, by text, or other electronic message.
  • Harassment can be falsely reporting a death or serious bodily injury in order to alarm a person.
  • Harassment can be making the phone ring incessantly.
  • Harassment can be sending constant text messages that are likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend.
  • Harassment can be calling and hanging up repeatedly.
  • Harassment can be repeatedly sending emails, texts or other electronic messages in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

What is Obscene?

Obscene means a “patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act.”

What is an Electronic Communication?

An electronic communication is a sign, signal, writing, image, sound, data or intelligence that is transmitted over a wire, radio, or other electronic, magnetic or optics system.

The most important thing to do if you are charged with harassment is to contact a criminal defense attorney who can offer perspective and begin uncovering the digital trail that could lead to the prosecutor reanalyzing their position.

Contact us

If you or a loved one is being accused of harassment, call us today at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

You can also contact us online:

The Law on Harassment in Texas

(a)  A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:

(1)  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;

(2)  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;

(3)  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;

(4)  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;

(5)  makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;

(6)  knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section;  or

(7)  sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  “Electronic communication” means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system.  The term includes:

(A)  a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine;  and

(B)  a communication made to a pager.

(2)  “Family” and “household” have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(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.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

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