Harassment continues to be charged regularly by law enforcement because of its catch-all nature. Under C.R.S. 18-9-111, effective for crimes charged beginning on March 1, 2022, you can be charged with harassment for a laundry list of reasons. The potential penalties under C.R.S. 18-9-111 vary from a class 1 misdemeanor to a petty offense.
The Harassment statute, C.R.S. 18-9-111, reads as follows:
(1) A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:
(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact; or
(b) In a public place directs obscene language or makes an obscene gesture to or at another person; or
(c) Follows a person in or about a public place; or
(e) Directly or indirectly initiates communication with a person or directs language toward another person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telephone network, data network, text message, instant message, computer, computer network, computer system, or other interactive electronic medium in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, computer system, or other interactive electronic medium that is obscene; or
(f) Makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate conversation; or
(g) Makes repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invade the privacy of another and interfere in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence or other private property; or
(h) Repeatedly insults, taunts, challenges, or makes communications in offensively coarse language to, another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.
While a third degree assault is considered a general intent crime, or a crime requiring a knowing or willful mindset during the commission of the offense; harassment is considered a specific intent crime. Specific intent crimes typically contain the phrases “with intent” or “intentionally” clearly expressed in the statutory language. The phrase in subsection (1) “with intent to harass, annoy or alarm” can make all the difference between an incidental physical contact wherein you accidently bumped into another person, or a situation in which you purposefully shove someone because you want to annoy, harass or alarm them.
Charges under paragraphs (1)(a) or (1)(c), are now classified as class 1 misdemeanors, and can carry up to 364 days in county jail. Charges under paragraphs (1)(e), (1)(f), (1)(g), or (1)(h), are currently classified as class 2 misdemeanors carrying up to four months in county jail. Finally, if you are charged under paragraph (1)(b) of the Harassment statute, then you are facing a petty offense.
Harassment allegations come in many shapes in sizes under the law. Contact The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC today to enlist the assistance of an attorney who understands the difference between accidental contact and freedom of speech versus a true crime.