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Arizona Harassment Law

Nov 21, 2023 | Harassment

What is Criminal Harassment?

Harassment is defined in A.R.S. 13-2991. That section of the Arizona Criminal Code says that you commit the crime of harassment when you “knowingly and repeatedly” engage in conduct directed at a particular person, which conduct would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed, or distressed. And if you look at the acts listed, you can begin to make some sense of what types of repeated acts the statute is referring to. They can include:

  • Communications (written, electronic, verbal, or telegraphic).
  • Following another person in public after being asked to stop.
  • Surveillance of the other person.
  • Falsely reporting the other person to the police, a credit agency, or social services.
  • Causing interference with the delivery of utility services (electricity, water, etc.) to the other person.

Note that the acts must be performed “repeatedly” and “knowingly.”

Activities Exempt from the Harassment Law

Certain activities, which might otherwise fall into the broad definition of harassment, are specifically exempt under the statute. They include lawful demonstrations or picketing; lawful activities of a private investigator or police officer within the scope of an investigation; and process servers acting within the scope of their duties.

Classification of Harassment and Aggravated Harassment

Harassment, without more, is a class 1 misdemeanor. Where the person harassed is a public employee or officer, and the harassment consists of filing certain unlawful liens, the offense is a class 5 felony.

Arizona law also contains an offense known as “aggravated harassment.” It consists of harassment (as defined above), but with the added element of a violation of a court order, including domestic violence orders of protection and criminal-related injunctions. Aggravated harassment also covers instances where the defendant has a prior conviction for domestic violence against the person allegedly being harassed. Aggravated harassment is a felony.

If you are facing a harassment charge, contact the Law Offices of David A. Black to speak to an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer.

Law Offices of David A. Black
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Phoenix, AZ 85004
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