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What Constitutes Harassment in New York?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Harassment, Labor Law |

While sexual harassment in the workplace has been in the news a lot over the last several years, and especially a lot lately here in New York, harassment in general is a serious offense as well. Harassment is also quite insidious, and you might not even realize you are committing a type of harassment crime when it first happens. Before long, you might be arrested and charged with harassment without even knowing that you had done something seriously wrong. In that sense, it is important to know the definition of harassment in New York and its consequences.

Harassment: Defined

Harassment itself is defined as illegal acts committed by a perpetrator who has the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person. In general, simply being rude or obnoxious is not harassment. There are four levels of harassment:

  1. Harassment in the Second Degree – Only a violation, characterized by attempts at minor physical contact as a threat. This type of harassment might include striking, shoving, or kicking. In general, these types of harassment are alarming, but they do not make the victim particularly fearful that they might end up getting harmed. Since this is a violation, you would not be required to serve any time or pay any penalties for this crime.
  2. Harassment in the First Degree – A class B misdemeanor, usually involving more than one act of harassment. This harassment charge occurs when it is essentially harassment in the second degree several times, creating an atmosphere of reasonable fear for injury or other harm. With this being a class B misdemeanor, you might face a maximum jail term of 3 months and a fine of up to $500.
  3. Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree – A class A misdemeanor, characterized by the threat of a physical altercation or actual injury. This form of harassment more directly insinuates harm. It can be done through phone, mail, email, text, or any other communication method and instills a definitive sense of fear that harm will occur or harm actually does occur. This can also be characterized by a physical altercation based on race. Since this is a class A misdemeanor, you can expect to receive up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  4. Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree – A class E felony involving destruction of property in an offensive way. Examples of this type of harassment include damaging religious property, setting a cross on fire, or defacing property with offensive imagery. This being a class E felony means that you could face a fixed jail term of between 1-4 years if convicted.

Contact a New York City Harassment Defense Lawyer

If you are accused of harassment, you need the assistance of an experienced NYC criminal defense attorney to help you develop a winning strategy. Contact the knowledgeable team at JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC., by calling us today at 833-563-9522. With 25+ years of experience in criminal law, you can trust Joey Jackson and his team to resolve your case beyond your expectations.