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The laws in Michigan and around the country exist to maintain public peace and give people the right to enjoy their lives. As a result, there are multiple criminal infractions that individuals may commit if they interfere with these rights. While there is no crime specifically known as harassment in the Michigan Penal Code, there are other statutes meant to punish behavior that would otherwise be known as harassment, as well as local ordinances that may further prohibit this behavior.
Whether you are facing charges of being a disorderly person, stalking, or even unlawful filming, a Michigan harassment lawyer may be able to help. Your dedicated criminal attorney could work to ensure you understand the Michigan Penal Code as it applies to your case, listen to your side of the story, and create a defense designed to meet your specific goals in court.Making Repeated Unwelcome Contact
Harassment can be defined generally as any repeated, unwelcome contact made by an individual towards any other person. If this conduct causes the alleged victim to suffer emotional harm, or if it could reasonably be expected to do so, it can be charged as a criminal offense. However, the Michigan Penal Code does not recognize harassment as a unique criminal offense on its own.
Instead, this activity is just one of many acts that meet the state's definition of stalking under Michigan Penal Code §750.411h. The law also punishes any course of action that would cause a reasonable person to feel scared or threatened. This can include behavior such as:
- Following an individual
- Placing unwanted items on the private property of an individual
- Sending unwanted mail, email, or text messages to an individual
- Entering that individual's land or appearing at the individual's workplace or home without permission
A violation of this statute is typically a misdemeanor, so a conviction could result in up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. However, if the alleged victim in the case is less than 18 years old at the time of the conduct and the defendant is more than five years older than the victim, the charges are updated to felonies punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 maximum fine.Other Harassment-Related Criminal Charges
Not all behavior that people might consider harassment is covered by the Michigan Penal Code's stalking statute. Incidents of stalking typically involve people who have some sort of prior relationship or are at least known to each other. However, Michigan state law also addresses when complete strangers harass one another in public.
Even a single incident of roughly addressing another individual in a public space can bring charges of being a disorderly person under Michigan Penal Code §750.167. This kind of action is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
The law is also dedicated to protecting peoples' privacy. As such, it is a felony-level crime for any individual to surveil another individual who is nude or dressed only in their underwear in a place where that person should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This can include their home, a changing room, or a restroom.
In a similar vein, it is also illegal to record photos or videos of people who are nude or in their underwear. According to Michigan Penal Code §750.539j, a conviction for these offenses can result in a multi-year prison sentence as well as stiff fines. A Michigan harassment lawyer could mitigate the penalties that someone might face.Let a Michigan Harassment Attorney Help
While there is no law in the Michigan Penal Code that specifically deals with harassing behavior, actions taken by individuals to bother or invade the privacy of others are still illegal. Michigan prosecutors typically pursue these charges using the state's stalking or disorderly persons laws, and convictions for these charges can result in a jail sentence, the payment of heavy fines, or both.
A Michigan harassment lawyer could help you meet your goals for your case and pursue a positive resolution. By fully investigating the alleged incident and examining the legality of the police work that led to the arrest, a skilled attorney could work to protect your Constitutional rights in and out of court. Call today to see how they could help you.