What should I do if I am being accused of harassment? 9 Answers as of February 07, 2011

Someone is trying to charge me with harassment. All I did was talk to her one time in a raised voice. How is harassment defined in California?

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Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
I would need more facts to fully evaluate your case. If you have not been charged with anything, stay away from this individual. When I mean stay away, I mean no contact at all. This includes electronic and 3rd Party contacts. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
LynchLaw
LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
Even though this question is in the Criminal section it seems it is a question regarding a Civil Harassment petition. In Civil Harassment the petitioner has the burden of proof. The standard for that burden is clear and convincing evidence of harassment. Clear and convincing evidence is somewhere between the proof beyond reasonable doubt needed for a criminal conviction and the simple preponderance needed for a civil suit. Typically one communication, even if in a harsh tone, would not rise to the level of harassment. Unless the words used expressed a clear threat to the petitioner's life the petitioner would have a hard time reaching their burden. If the words were of a threatening nature then the respondent could also face criminal charges for a violation of P.C. 422. In any case the facts should be reviewed by a qualified attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Harassment is defined however the victim says it is. It is in the eye of the beholder, reasonably defined as whatever is done to annoy, threaten, etc.

The ONLY specific advice you should expect to get from here or elsewhere is to exercise your 5th Amendment rights to SHUT UP, and hire an attorney to speak for you.

If the victim is simply seeking a restraining order, you have the right to oppose it in court, by timely filing appropriate pleadings and attending the hearing to argue against it. You should do so, because a restraining order has negative consequences on your record similar to a felony conviction. You lose your firearms rights, and most employers will view you as a potential problem.

If the victim is pressing criminal charges, you face potential jail time, and most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative'. There is no magic wand to make this go away. Prosecutors don't take the time to research, prepare and file charges just to drop them. So, if they file, youd better take it seriously. In either case, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court, hire an attorney who does. If this is in SoCAL, and youre serious about hiring counsel, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
If you are being investigated by the police hire an attorney to assist you. Prior to making any statements with the police talk to an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
What do you mean by "someone is trying to charge me."? Are you being questioned by the police? Has this person or an attorney said they were going to file a harassment action? A single occurrence is rarely sufficient to support a request for a restraining order or related criminal charges. depends on what occurred between the two of you in addition to a yelling match.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/7/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    "Harassment" is not a crime per se in California. It would have to include threats or stalking or disturbing the peace or other specific criminal activity. As long as she doesn't allege something more than talking to her in a "raised voice" you should be okay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/7/2011
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    Under California Code of Civil Procedure 527.6, the petitioner has to show a pattern of behavior that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress. However, should an restraining order issue, and you violate that order - you could go to jail.

    It's best to get a defense lawyer to avoid that outcome.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf | Lawrence Wolf
    One call is not harassment. Give us a call.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2011
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