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What allegations can lead to a charge of harassment?

For residents of Oregon, any criminal allegations can lead to significant problems. This not only has to do with the possibility that there will be a criminal trial and a conviction, but the penalties that accompany criminal charges. One issue that is growing more prevalent with the increased options for communication is harassment. Harassment charges can be filed if a person is believed to have harassed or annoyed another by making physical contact that is deemed offensive; publicly insults the other with words or gestured that are deemed to be abusive in a way that is likely to lead to a violent response; or by distributing a video of the other person taking part in sexual acts or while nude when the person is younger than 18 when the recording is made.

It is also considered harassment if the other person is alarmed due to a false report that was known to have been false and if it centers around serious physical injury or death when this would be reasonably be believed to cause that alarm. Harassment can be charged if the other person is alarmed by a threat to inflict serious physical injury or to commit a felony to the individual or the individual's family. This can be made via telephone, through written communication or by electronic means.

Even if the person did not commit the harassment him or herself, that person is still liable if a device under his or her control is used to commit the harassment. Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor in Oregon. It can be a Class A misdemeanor if: it involves offensive physical contact with sexual or intimate touching; there was a previous conviction and it was a family member who was victimized; the person who was victimized had a protective order or a restraining order or other type of order; the person who was victimized could reasonably have been believed to have been under 18; or there was a threat to kill the other person or a member of the person's family, if there was the intent to carry out this threat, and if a reasonable person believed that the threat could be carried out.

Charges of harassment can lead to serious problems to the person who is accused. It is imperative to lodge a strong criminal defense with an attorney experienced in plea negotiation and handling a criminal trial.

Source: oregonlaws.org, "166.065 Harassment," accessed on Jan. 3, 2016

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