Have you been accused of aggravated harassment in Arizona? This is a serious offense, and carries far more severe punishments than a conviction of Simple Harassment. Aggravated harassment includes all forms of harassment outlined in A.R.S. 13-2921, along with additional intent to harm and violation of preexisting legal orders or injunctions.
Breaking Down the Term
The term “aggravated harassment” can encompass a number of crimes. According to A.R.S. 13-2921.01, aggravated harassment includes any form of harassment in addition to an order of protection or injunction against harassment against the accused and in favor of the accuser. If the order or injunction (also known as a “restraining order”) is still valid, any contact with the accuser is legally unwarranted and is grounds for arrest.
If the accused has been convicted of an offense of A.R.S. 13-3601, which encompasses all forms of domestic violence, and commits harassment, then his or her actions constitute aggravated harassment.
Examples of aggravated harassment include stalking, sending harassing communication, making false police reports, interfering with delivery of public services or utilities to another, and more after an order or injunction is already in place. If the harassment causes not only alarm or annoyance but also fear, you could be charged with and convicted of stalking.
Punishments for Aggravated Harassment
If a person violates an order or injunction by enacting harassing behavior against an individual, the accused will be charged with a class 6 felony. A repeat offense will result in accusation of a class 5 felony. Typically, the lower the number attached to the felony, the greater the consequences will be for the alleged crime.
The presumptive sentence for a class 6 felony offender is 1 year in prison, with a 6 month minimum. However, a more severe crime may bump imprisonment up to 2 years. A repeat offender will serve up to 4 years in prison and will usually be ineligible for probation.
In addition to the legal penalties of imprisonment and substantial fines, if you are convicted of aggravated harassment, you will have to deal permanently with the social taboo of being a convicted felon.
Building a Defense
Though you’ve been charged with aggravated harassment, there are a number of potential defenses. For example, if you have been arrested but the peace officer has not made your rights clear, this could be a case of coercion on behalf of Arizona law enforcement. Further, if you were denied the right to speak with an aggravated harassment attorney while in custody, you also have an excellent case for defense.
It is always illegal to contact a person who has an order or injunction against you, even if the person in question reached out first. If the individual with the order against you wanted to talk or “patch things up,” you may not have been aware you were violating the order.
I’ve Been Arrested – What Now?
If you’ve been arrested for aggravated harassment, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. At the Stewart Law Group, you’ll receive the defense you deserve, guarding you from pressure to accept a plea bargain on unfair terms. Attorney Scott David Stewart previously served as a prosecutor in Maricopa County, so working with his law office will ensure you have the capacity to navigate all sides of the complex legal world.
In a case of aggravated harassment, don’t attempt to defend yourself alone. Contact our Phoenix aggravated harassment attorney, Scott Stewart today for a free consultation.