Civil harassment is when someone creates a hostile work environment by making derogatory or offensive remarks to a coworker or contacts a debtor too frequently when trying to collect payment, but criminal harassment involves threats and other distressing behavior meant to frighten or embarrass the victim.
Sometimes words can be as painful and disruptive as physical violence. If you have ever experienced harassment by classmates, coworkers, neighbors, or family members, you know how it feels, but the difference between harassment and simply an unpleasant interaction with an unpleasant person is how persistent the aggressor was in their behavior and their intent to make it difficult for you to go on with your life as normal. Both civil and criminal laws aim to protect the public from harassment. If you are facing criminal charges for harassment, contact the Fort Worthcriminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker.
Examples of Civil Harassment
Employment discrimination laws protect against harassment in the workplace. Harassment by coworkers and work supervisors, also known as a hostile work environment, is a form of employment discrimination. Harassment can take the form of derogatory remarks about a protected characteristic of the employee (such as race, gender, religion, or family status) directly to the employee or in their presence.
Creditor harassment is another form of civil harassment. It occurs when creditors call you about unpaid debts early in the morning, late at night, at your workplace, or after you tell them to stop. Victims of employment discrimination and creditor harassment have the right to collect damages by filing a civil lawsuit.
Criminal Harassment and Texas Law
According to Texas law, harassment is a Class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a $2,000 fine, six months in jail, a probation sentence, and a five-year ban on carrying weapons. Texas Penal Code 42.07 defines harassment as attempting to annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the victim. These are some actions that could cause a person to get charged with harassment:
- Repeatedly calling the victim on the phone and hanging up or staying silent
- Verbally threatening the victim with physical violence or something else the victim fears
- Giving the victim a false report of very disturbing news (such as falsely telling them that a family member of theirs has died)
- Repeatedly making obscene comments or suggestions to the victim
Certain extenuating circumstances could elevate a harassment charge to the level of a Class A misdemeanor, where the maximum penalty is a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. These factors include having a prior harassment conviction, harassing a minor, and harassing a person who has sought a restraining order against you. Some people who get charged with harassment also get charges for stalking and bullying.
Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Fighting Your Harassment Charges
A criminal defense lawyer can help you get your charges dropped, be acquitted at trial, enter a pretrial diversion program, or negotiate a plea deal.Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss your case.