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Birmingham Harassment Lawyer
Every person in Birmingham has the right to live their lives in peace. If an individual wishes to be left alone, they should be able to do so. Michigan’s legislature recognizes this right and has written laws accordingly to protect citizens. If you are accused of harassment under these laws, a Birmingham harassment lawyer may be able to defend against these accusations.
An experienced attorney could provide counsel through every phase of your case, from initial arraignment until a final decision is made. In addition, they may be able to help you understand any charges you face, so you can make an informed decision regarding what steps to take.What is Harassment and How Is It Charged?
Generally, harassment is classified as any repeated conduct directed towards another person that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress. However, criminal prosecutions for harassment can be much more complex.
Prosecutors and police cannot arrest and charge a citizen with harassment—in fact, there is no statute in the Michigan Penal Code that specifically defines harassment as a crime. However, as a Birmingham harassment lawyer may explain, certain actions that constitute harassment could be illegal.
In Michigan, criminal courts generally charge the accused in these situations with stalking. According to Michigan Penal Code §750.411h, stalking incorporates the general definition of harassment—that is, repeated non-consensual contact that would cause a reasonable individual emotional distress, such as:
- Following another person
- Repeated appearances at a residence or place of business
- Repeated contact by phone, email, or text
- Placing objects on the alleged victim’s property
If one results in a conviction, this type of stalking charge is usually a misdemeanor offense. In addition to a criminal record, the accused could receive a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.Aggravating Factors in Birmingham Harassment Cases
Certain aggravating factors could elevate harassment to a felony charge. For example, the Michigan Penal Code dictates if the alleged victim of the harassment is under the age of 18 and the defendant is more than five years older than the alleged victim, the charge is a felony. These convictions carry much more severe sentencing, as well as potentially longer prison stays and significantly larger fines.
Another potential aggravating factor is the violation of protective orders, a crime known as aggravated stalking. In addition to violating protection orders, other fact patterns that could lead to a charge of aggravated stalking include:
- Violation of probation, parole, or pretrial release
- Familial or household relationship between the alleged victim and defendant
- Prior stalking convictions
Aggravated stalking is a felony charge punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years as well as a fine of up to $10,000. These penalties could increase situationally, such as in cases involving children. No matter the exact circumstances that led to being criminally charged, a Birmingham harassment lawyer may be able to provide additional insight into how to best proceed.Let a Birmingham Harassment Attorney Fight for You in Court
Allegations of harassment—classified as stalking in the Michigan Penal Code—can arise from many repeated behaviors, like phone calls, texts, and even simply appearing in the same place. Seeking strong legal counsel could help you protect your rights and strive for the best outcome.
Though harassment charges are misdemeanors, they can still create a permanent criminal record. An adept Birmingham harassment lawyer could provide the support needed to build a positive case, so reach out today to discuss the facts of your case.