Criminal Harassment Lawyer
Criminal harassment is a serious criminal offence in Canada that can have severe consequences for the perpetrator. This offence is punishable by a maximum jail sentence, and a conviction can leave a criminal record. Continue reading as we will explain what criminal harassment is according to Canadian law, provide examples, discuss potential defences, and answer frequently asked questions.
What is Criminal Harassment?
Section 264 of the Criminal Code defines criminal harassment as engaging in one of the following conducts and thereby causing another person to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of anyone known to them:
- Repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them.
- Repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them.
- Besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business, or happens to be.
- Engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.
Criminal harassment can have a physical element caused by violent behaviour. The criminal harassment offence does not always have to be caused by physical violence, it can be caused by actions such as stalking victims, ongoing torment, and online harassment which can lead to psychological harm and emotional distress.
Criminal harassment is a hybrid offence and can be prosecuted either summarily or by indictment. If the Crown prosecutor decides to prosecute you by an indictable offence, is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Examples of Criminal Harassment
- Repeatedly calling or texting a person who has asked you to stop
- Following someone home from work or school
- Sending threatening emails or messages
- Making repeated unwanted visits to a person’s home or workplace
- Harassing a person’s friends or family in an effort to contact them
- Damaging a person’s property or leaving unwanted items at their home or workplace
What is the process if I have been Charged with Criminal Harassment?
If you are arrested for harassing someone, you retain all your legal and Charter rights such as consulting a lawyer, bail, and more. It is essential for the police to let you consult with a lawyer before taking your statement. In this situation, it’s best to contact an experienced Criminal defence lawyer to avoid making any costly legal mistakes. It is also recommended that you consult a lawyer before turning yourself into the police.
If you have been charged with a criminal harassment offence, you will be given a date to appear in criminal court. At this point, you should contact a criminal defence lawyer who will be able to provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the process. Engaging an experienced criminal lawyer may be the distinction between harsh penalties and escaping a criminal record. Hiring an attorney has another advantage, as they can scrutinize the disclosures and identify any legal problems that could lead to dropping the case, allowing you to avoid a criminal record.
Criminal Harassment Defences
When facing a criminal harassment charge in Canada, it is important to understand the potential defences that may be available to you. The most common defence involves challenging the elements of the offence that the prosecution must prove, such as the identity of the accused, the act itself, the accused’s intention, and whether or not the complainant had a reasonable fear.
An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you to attack these elements by gathering evidence and witnesses that can help to undermine the prosecution’s case. For example, if the prosecution is unable to prove that the accused was responsible for the behavior in question, the charges may be dismissed.
Another important defence in criminal harassment cases is challenging the credibility of the complainant. In some cases, complainants may have a motive to fabricate the allegations, such as seeking revenge or trying to gain an advantage in a legal dispute. An experienced lawyer can help to expose these motives through cross-examination and other investigative techniques.
It is important to keep in mind that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution and they must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, your rights, and potential defenses according to the Criminal Code of Canada and help you to build a strong defense.
A conviction of criminal harassment is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years. Most people found guilty of criminal harassment who do not have a prior criminal record may not receive a jail sentence unless there are aggravating factors. A conditional sentence order may be imposed in some cases, as well as probation, fines, and restitution. The nature of the offence and the personal circumstances of the offender will be considered by the court at sentencing.
If the accused believes that he has committed harassment, and the crown has an overwhelming case against the accused, the lawyer can negotiate a result that minimizes the impact on your freedom and your future. However, this remedy should never be chosen only to prevent going through the trial. No one should be compelled to accept fault even if it results in a temporary criminal record. The trial is indeed lengthy and tiring, but a good Criminal Defense Lawyer will be able to ensure that justice is served in the way most convenient for his client.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the elements of criminal harassment according to Canadian law? To prove criminal harassment in Canada, the prosecution must prove that the accused engaged in repeated, unwanted behavior that caused fear for the safety of the person or someone they know as per section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
- What are three types of harassment? There are many different types of harassment, but some common examples include verbal, physical, and electronic harassment over a period of time.
- Can you go to jail for criminal harassment in Canada? A conviction can result in jail time. Depending on the case, a judge may also impose other sentences such as a conditional discharge or a conditional sentence for the criminal behaviour.
- What should I do if the police contact me? If the police contact you in regards to a criminal harassment charge in Canada, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, your rights, and potential defenses according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal harassment charges in Canada, it is important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, your rights, and potential defenses as per the Criminal Code of Canada. At Kahlon Law, our team is dedicated to defending your rights and fighting for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.