Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

Fairfax/Manassas Criminal & Personal Injury Blog

Teens in Virginia might not understand the difference between what they believe to be a harmless series of pranks and what ventures into the illegal and turns into harassment. However, when that line is crossed it can lead to serious long-term consequences if there is a conviction on the allegations. It is with this in mind that teens who might be facing accusations of harassment need to make certain to craft a strong defense to avoid the harshest penalties.

Under the law, harassment refers to a repeated attack or annoyance against a person or a group that results in them feeling fear or anxiety regarding their safety. There are several ways in which there can be harassment in Virginia. If a person's name or image is published with their personal information in an attempt to intimidate, harass or coerce them, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. If this is done to a law enforcement officer, it will be a Class 6 felony and have a six month confinement if there is a conviction.

Sending or selling pictures of another person who is naked with the intention of harassment is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Making prank phone calls is also harassment. According to the law, if language that is considered profane, vulgar, indecent or obscene is used or there are threats of illegal or immoral acts in an attempt to harass, intimidate or coerce via telephone or text message, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Simply calling or texting to annoy the person is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Making these calls to an emergency service or law enforcement intending to annoy, delay or harass that personnel from doing their jobs will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Using the computer to commit harassment and committing any of the above-listed acts is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Teens and underage people might not realize that the behaviors that are classified as harassment under the law are dangerous or harmful to anyone. They might not even know that they are illegal. When there is an incident such as those detailed above, there is the possibility that the person who is alleged to have committed it will be arrested and charged. Those who are confronted with this type of juvenile criminal offense must be aware of the consequences and seek assistance from an experienced attorney.

Source: VirginiaRules.com, "Crimes Against Persons -- What is harassment?," accessed on May 9, 2016

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