Judge looking at defendantThis is the next post in my series on the handling of harassment or stalking charges in Austin, Texas. My last article was written to provide a roadmap of the issues which I will be discussing over my coming articles. It was also written to stress the importance of contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is important that you contact counsel as such charges are not a private matter between two individuals. They are, instead, criminal allegations which carry serious consequences. I will be using this article to discuss those consequences. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. I am board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I have been practicing since 1995 and I am ready to assist you.

Texas’ penalties for harassment or stalking will depend on the nature of the conduct

Texas law protects the rights of individuals to go about their lives without being bothered. The crime of harassment occurs when a person contacts a victim, either in person or through other means, including email, text messages or on social media, with the attention of causing them worry, fear, or some form of embarrassment or humiliation. It is important to understand that whether conduct constitutes harassment will depend on the facts of the situation. The contents of one individual message may only seem mildly annoying, but if such messages are continuously sent then the pattern of conduct may constitute harassment. Conversely, if the message or contact is threatening , then the one message alone may be enough to bring criminal charges.

If the type of conduct described above is recurring and threatening in nature, then a defendant may find themselves charged with the more serious crime of stalking. While harassment is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, stalking will be charged as a third-degree felony. A stalking charge carries a penalty of 2-10 years in prison. The penalties which an Austin area resident  faces can increase even further if the person has previously been convicted of stalking, even in another state.

Austin defendants should immediately contact a lawyer if they have been charged with stalking or harassment

It is common for a domestic disagreement between people to escalate to the point where one may be engaging in conduct which constitutes stalking or harassment. The offending party may fail to realize that the dispute is then something they cannot simply work out with the other side. Once charges are filed, then the state has become involved. It is, therefore, important to immediately contact an attorney to assist you. As an Austin criminal defense lawyer, I am experienced in handling such charges. Contact my office today. I also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas. Call today to speak with our attorney.