Facing harassment charges is a very scary thing. When you’ve been falsely accused, it’s not just frightening but also confusing. What does harassment mean? What can you do when you know you’ve been falsely accused and are now facing actual jail time? Can you countersue for false accusations?
These are just a few of the questions those facing harassment charges often have. The answers to these and more are found below.
Definition of Harassment
According to Nevada Revised Statutes, section 200.571, harassment occurs when one person threatens another person with such intent that the victim believes actual harm will result. The harm feared can include bodily injury, property damage, being restrained or confined, or any other act that would substantially harm another person either physically or mentally.
Under this statute, one person can threaten someone else verbally or can behave in a threatening manner. Either is considered harassment under Nevada law. The threat also does not need to include the immediate future. Even threats made of future harm down the line are still considered harassment.
Lastly, a person could face harassment charges if he or she threatened one person to harm someone else, such as threatening a wife to hurt a husband. If one person fears another person may harm them, the prosecution may view it as harassment.
Scenarios That Can Lead to Harassment Charges
People who have been falsely accused of harassment are typically shocked to learn of the charges. They had no idea that their actions or words were considered threatening by someone else. It’s for this very reason that so many people are wrongfully accused of harassment.
By looking at some common scenarios of people charged with harassment, it’s easy to see that these are simply everyday situations that anyone could find themselves in:
- If someone visits a crowded bar and is squeezing through throngs of people, one accidental touch could result in harassment charges. The other person needs to only say they felt threatened by the act, and the prosecution could proceed with the case.
- If someone makes multiple calls or texts to a person, and the receiver feels threatened by the repeated contact.
- If someone posts or sends messages on social media, and the other person feels threatened by the act.
Through these common scenarios alone, it’s not difficult to see how someone could face a false accusation of harassment. Luckily, there are defenses available and actions that those who are falsely charged, or those fired for harassment, can take to claim compensation and repair their reputation.
Defenses Against Harassment Charges
It’s natural to feel helpless when facing charges of harassment. It’s important to remember though, that the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney will raise arguments that instill doubt in the minds of jurors.
Some of the most common defenses to harassment include:
- Proving that testimony from the victim was false
- Mistaken identity
- Showing that the behavior is not considered harassment under Nevada law
- Demonstrating that you were acting in the capacity of a lawful authority, such as working as a security guard or a police officer
Penalties for Harassment
Harassment is considered a misdemeanor offense in Nevada, but it still carries serious penalties of up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. In some instances, a judge may impose harsher sentences.
When the defendant has been convicted of harassment in the past, or threatened substantial bodily harm, harsher sentences may apply. These include up to 364 days in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, or both.
In addition to these penalties, a judge may also order a restraining order against the defendant. This is particularly difficult in domestic situations, such as when a father can’t see his child due to a restraining order.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer in Nevada Can Help with False Accusations
If you have been falsely accused of harassment, you are undoubtedly scared of what the future holds. You may be afraid of actually doing jail time for a crime you didn’t commit. When this is the case, a Nevada criminal defense attorney can help.
Contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann to learn about the action you can take against a false accusation of harassment. Contact us today and we will begin reviewing your case in a free consultation.