- Make a call to the police department or go there in person to submit a Harassment Order. It’s possible that the harasser will get a visit from the cops.
- In Alabama, Class C misdemeanors can have penalties that include a fine of up to $500, a prison sentence of up to three months, or both. Examples of such offenses include disorderly conduct and harassment. Even petty charges
What is the difference between harassment and disorderly conduct in Alabama?
Depending on the jurisdiction in which a charge of disorderly conduct is brought, the term “disorderly conduct” can refer to a wide range of behaviors. The definition changes from state to state, and even within individual states, from one municipal authority to the next within each of those states.
- To a greater or lesser extent, it is a catch-all phrase for disruptive behavior that, in the majority of instances, represents a minor crime.
- As outlined in Section 13A-11-7 of the Alabama Code of Criminal Procedure, disorderly conduct is considered a Class C misdemeanor.
- The Alabama harassment charge, which is protected by state code 13A-11-8, is a slightly distinct offense, but depending on the circumstances of an event that led to such charges, it can occur simultaneously with a disorderly conduct charge.
Harassment is a form of action that is aimed against a particular individual and also constitutes a Class C misdemeanor in some jurisdictions.
What to do when faced with a harassment charge in Alabama?
What Does It Mean When Someone Harasses You in Alabama? Charges of harassment are filed in the context of domestic violence the vast majority of the time. Harassment can refer to a wide range of behaviors, each of which is carried out with the intention of harassing, annoying, or alarming another person.
- Harassment can take the form of physical behaviour, which can involve unwelcome touching of any kind as well as any other sort of unwanted contact.
- Harassment is a complaint that may be brought against an individual in a number of different scenarios, including when the individual makes an insulting gesture toward another human being or when the individual uses offensive words that is directed at another individual.
Threatening another person is also regarded to fall within the umbrella of the category of harassment. When an individual has the intent to annoy or harass another individual and uses any mode of communication including the phone or postal mail to perform this harassment, they can be charged with harassing communications in the state of Alabama.
This is yet another type of harassment that is illegal in the state of Alabama. It is possible to press charges of stalking against an individual when they repeatedly harass another person. An individual must have the purpose to place another person in a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury for the behavior known as stalking to be considered to have taken place.
If a person who has already been charged with stalking continues to stalk another individual, then an aggravated stalking case can be brought against that individual.
What happens if you file a police report for harassment?
Download the Article Download the Article If someone is harassing you, it is normal to feel annoyed and helpless. Download the Article Download the Article Download the Article Recognize that you are not alone and that support and protection exists. There are laws in all states that are meant to protect you from such treatment.
If the harasser’s conduct against you put you in fear for your life or safety, the police can investigate and perhaps bring criminal charges. Nevertheless, even if the harasser isn’t necessarily committing a crime with their conduct, you can still acquire a restraining order against them to prevent them from approaching you.
You could even be able to take legal action against them in a civil court if the conditions are right. 1 In the event of an ongoing instance of harassment, dial 911 immediately. Call the police as soon as possible if the individual who is harassing you has made threats of physical violence to you or someone you know, or if they have damaged your property. Provide the operator with your precise location and an explanation of what is taking place.
- The operator of the 911 service will check to see that you are in a secure area, and they may remain on the line with you until assistance comes.
- In spite of how challenging it may be, try to maintain your composure and provide the operator of the 911 call with an accurate location of where you are. If you don’t know the street address, describe the location with as much information as possible so law enforcement can find you.
2 Collect evidence that demonstrates the harassment. Keep any letters, presents, photographs, or other anything that are connected to the harassment even if your initial inclination may be to get rid of them as quickly as possible. These will assist you in proving your case to the authorities and provide them with leads to work with in their investigation. Maintain complete call logs if the person harassing you is regularly phoning you. This will allow law enforcement to examine the amount and frequency of calls. Save any voicemails or text messages. A helpful hint is that the laws in certain jurisdictions require you to establish that the harassing behavior of another individual consists of at least three separate incidents or an overall pattern of conduct before the behavior may be termed harassment.
Every scrap of evidence ought to be taken seriously. Advertisement 3 Head on over to the police or sheriff’s department in your community. If the encounter has already come to an end, you should report the harassment in person at the police or sheriff’s department in your locality. Bring over any proof that you may have of the harassment you were subjected to.
It’s possible that the officer who takes your statement will wish to look it over later.
- In the event that the officer does not immediately hand you a copy of the written police report, you should inquire as to when you will be able to pick up your own copy.
- If you are unable to go to the precinct in person to file a report, you can alternatively do so by calling the number that is listed for non-emergency situations. An officer may be dispatched to your location by the operator in order to collect your statement or examine any evidence that you have.
Tip: Before you can take any additional action, such as securing a restraining order or suing the person in civil court, you may be obliged to report the harassment to the police in some jurisdictions. This is the case even if you intend to pursue legal action against the harasser.4 Obtain a hard copy of the written report that the police made.
- It is possible that you will need to make another trip to the police or sheriff’s station in order to obtain a copy of the written report that was filed.
- Carefully go over the report and check to see that all of the information contained within it is correct.
- Notify an officer as soon as possible if you see any errors in the report or if you believe any vital information was omitted.
This will allow the report to be updated accordingly. 5 In the event that it is required, follow up with the investigators or the prosecutors. If the individual continues to harass you, phone the officer who took your first complaint and ask them to amend the record to include the new facts. This should be done as soon as possible if the harassment persists.
In the event that the police decide to investigate the incident, a prosecutor or a detective may get in touch with you. If the prosecutor makes the decision to file criminal charges against the individual who has been harassing you, it is probable that they will want to speak with you and review the information that you have provided to the police in your complaint.6 Respond to the prosecutor’s request and testify in court.
If the person who harassed you is finally charged with a crime and does not plead guilty, the prosecution may ask you to testify against them in court. Even if the prosecution says you have to testify, you should always remember that you are not obligated to do so, no matter how unpleasant this experience may be for you personally. Notify the prosecutor if you require or desire protection in any capacity. For instance, if you are only ready to testify against the person who harassed you provided they are not present in the room, the prosecutor may be able to make the necessary arrangements such that this is the case.
Advertisement Step one is to make copies of all of the supporting papers for your application. You should make copies of any papers, such as letters from your harasser, that are evidence of their behavior towards you. You can submit the copies to the court together with your application for a restraining order if you have these materials.
These documents have the potential to be used as evidence to demonstrate the pattern of behavior that your harasser has displayed toward you.
- If you went to the police to report the person who was harassing you, you should also keep a copy of any reports that the police gave you.
- You have the option of printing any digital documents that you have in order to submit them with your application. Despite this, you shouldn’t get rid of the first digital file.
- You should consider taking screenshots of any internet chats or text messages that you want to include in your request for a restraining order. These may then be printed out and attached to the request.
2 To begin, find the court that has jurisdiction over your case and ask the clerk for an application. If you want to apply for a restraining order, the clerk at the courthouse in your area will have an application form that you may fill out. Your harasser will not be able to contact you or come near you, your home, or any location where you work or go to school as a result of the restraining order.
- You have the ability to call the police and have your harasser arrested if they breach the restraining order that has been placed against them.
- You might also be able to receive an application for a restraining order through the local police or sheriff’s department, or at the office of a nonprofit group that helps victims of abuse and harassment, depending on where you live.
3 Make sure to fill out your application in a clear and concise manner. In most cases, you will be required to manually fill out the application. Please print your responses in a clear and legible font. Please respond to all of the questions on the application in as much detail and candor as you can muster.
- Give as many particulars as you possibly can, including the actual dates, hours, and content of any communications, as well as everything that was said to you directly. Include the names of everyone else who was around and whom you know at the time an instance of harassment occurred. Include their identities in your application.
- Include a note of this in your application if you have any evidence of the harasser’s behavior, particularly if it was sexual in nature.
4 Submit the necessary paperwork to the clerk of the court. After completing your application and making two duplicates of it, you should go to the clerk’s office with the original application, one of the copies, and any additional paperwork that you wish to file along with it.
- The submission of an application for a restraining order does not require payment of any kind.
- Along with the application, the clerk can also have you fill out a summons that you will provide to the person who has been harassing you. Include the maximum amount of information that you can. Inform the clerk that you do not know the address of the person who has been harassing you.
A word of advice: in certain courts, you will be seen by a judge as soon as you have finished filing your paperwork. When you go to the clerk’s office, make sure to dress in a manner that is clean, nice, and professional just in case you end up having to appear in front of a court.5 Explain the circumstances of your case before a magistrate.
- Although you will likely be nervous, try to keep your voice calm and stick to the facts unless the judge specifically asks you about how the harasser makes you feel. Always address the judge as “your honor” when you speak to them. Even though you will likely be nervous, address the judge as “your honor.”
- Always respond truthfully to the questions asked by the judge. If you do not know the response to a question, just inform the person that you do not know the answer. If the information in question is essential, the judge may be able to direct you toward resources that will be of use to you.
6 Give the interim order to the individual who is bothering you and have them served with it. Your harasser is required to be given notice of the interim order after it has been issued by the judge in order for them to have the opportunity to present their case to the judge. 7 You are required to take part in the last hearing in order to have your interim injunction made permanent. Your harasser has the right to appear in court and defend oneself against the allegations made against them. You will need to appear in court for a hearing if you want the interim order that was issued to you to become permanent.
- While you are in court for the hearing, do your best to avoid making eye contact with your harasser. Always direct your comments to the judge and maintain eye contact with them at all times. If the person who is harassing you tries to talk to you, you should try your best to ignore them and steer clear of any conversations that involve crosstalk.
- Once you have an order that is going to be permanent, you should make copies of it and bring it with you everywhere you go, such as your place of employment or your school. Make sure that a copy of it is sent to the person in charge of security as well as any additional administrators. You may also provide a photo of the individual so that those people will recognize them if they turn up, even if the person who harassed you is not someone who is known to those people.
Advertisement 1. Speak with a lawyer who specializes in representing clients in civil lawsuits involving harassment. Cases involving civil harassment can often be quite difficult to understand. If you decide that you want to sue the person who harassed you, it is typically better to get an attorney who will represent you in court and create all of your documentation for you.
- You may be able to find an attorney who will take your harassment case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay any attorney’s costs until the matter is settled or you win at trial. There are many attorneys who will do this.
- Depending on the nature of the problem that led to the harassment in the first place, you might also be able to locate a lawyer working for a charitable organization who is ready to defend you without charging you any fees. If you are being harassed because of your religion, for instance, you may want to look for a non-profit group that supports the right to freedom of religion and seek their assistance.
2 Collect evidence that demonstrates the harassment. Because you are not need to establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the behavior took place, you have a higher chance of demonstrating harassment in a civil court than in a criminal court. This is because the burden of proof is lower. For instance, if the individual regularly harassed you through text message, you may offer screenshots of those communications as proof to support your claim. You would also need to demonstrate that the harasser was the one who sent the texts and that the communications originated from a phone that they owned (and not someone else).
- Your attorney will be handling these specifics for you.3 Collect evidence that demonstrates the harm that has been caused to you as a result of the harassment.
- Civil lawsuits are often launched with the goal of obtaining monetary compensation for the harm that another party has caused to the plaintiff.
You still need proof in order to be able to place a price tag on how much that injury is worth, regardless of whether the harm that was done to you was physical or emotional.
- If you are seeing a therapist to talk about your harasser and the emotional trauma they have caused you, for instance, your therapist bills would be something you could potentially recover from your harasser because you are seeing the therapist to talk about your harasser and the emotional trauma they have caused you. If you take medicine to treat your anxiety, the price of that prescription would be added to the total cost of your losses.
- If the other individual caused any kind of harm to your personal property, any fees associated with fixing it or the money it would take to replace it would be deemed damages.
- Trying to put a number on something as abstract as “pain and suffering” might be challenging
- nonetheless, you should consider how the harassment has impacted you. For instance, you may have ceased taking part in a certain activity since the person who harassed you would always be present there. That points to a loss for which you are able to assign a monetary value. It is possible that lawyers are the best people to determine how much these goods are worth.
4 Create a draft of a complaint that details your allegations as well as your damages. As soon as you have gathered all of the evidence and calculated the amount of damages, you and your attorney will begin compiling a list of claims against the person who harassed you.
- Even while complaints all follow the same fundamental pattern, the exact content of each complaint will be different based on the circumstances of the situation being complained about.
- Your complaint probably won’t detail each and every incidence of harassment that occurred. Your legal representation will choose the claims that they feel have the best chance of being proven true in court.
5 Submit a copy of your complaint to the civil court in your area. After your complaint has been drafted, your lawyer will deliver it to the clerk’s office, where they will pay the necessary filing costs to get your case started. You will obtain a copy of your complaint that has been time-stamped and returned to you; it is imperative that you maintain this copy.
- The costs associated with the filing of civil lawsuits can range anywhere from a few tens to several hundreds of dollars, depending on the court.
- If you have retained the services of an attorney, it is customary for that individual to be responsible for paying the court expenses associated with the filing of the complaint on your behalf.6 Serve the harasser with a formal complaint against them.
After your complaint has been processed, it must then be provided to the person who harassed you. In most cases, a deputy sheriff is the one to carry out this duty. Consult with your attorney if you do not have an address for the person who is harassing you. Serving a civil complaint often results in the deputy collecting a fee from the recipient. Although the amount might change, it is almost always less than $30. If you have legal representation, they will handle the payment of this fee on your behalf.7 Keep waiting for the person who harassed you to respond to the complaint. Even if the other party fails to show up in court, you will often still be required to do so in order to demonstrate to the judge that you are entitled to the particular amount of damages that you requested. You would need to provide copies of all of the invoices that sum up to $10,000 in costs if you were claiming damages for treatment and medicine totaling that amount.
- For instance, if you were seeking $10,000 in damages, you would need to show that you spent that amount.8 Collaborate with your legal counsel to bring the discovery process to a successful conclusion.
- Assuming that the person who harassed you responds to the lawsuit, the next step in the process is discovery.
Both you and the person who has been harassing you will trade evidence and interrogate each other about the situation. In circumstances that are more complicated, you could even decide to take depositions. During this phase of the investigation, your attorney will interview a witness or the person who harassed you while they are under oath. Your harasser may wish to take your deposition even if they have an attorney representing them. A word of advice: Your harasser might at any time come to the conclusion that it would be in their best interest to reach a settlement over the matter. The majority of civil cases are resolved by settlement before they even get to trial.9 If the dispute has not been resolved out of court, you should take part in the proceeding.
- A date for the trial will be scheduled if your case is one of the few that does not settle out of court.
- You and the person who harassed you will both have to attend in court on the day of the trial and submit your arguments to the judge.
- The majority of your case will likely be presented by your lawyer.
Even though your presence is required, you are not compelled to provide testimony as a witness if you do not feel comfortable doing so. Be mindful of the fact that if you decide to testify, the person who harassed you (or their attorney, if they have one) will also have the opportunity to question you at the proceeding.
Advertisement Ask a Question There are 200 characters remaining Ask a question Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered to receive a message when this question is answered. Submit Advertisement This page provides information on how people in the United States may report harassment and defend themselves against it.
If you move to a different nation, the laws there could not apply to you. Immediately make a report to the local police on the harassment, and seek the aid of a local attorney. Advertisement
What is a criminal charge of harassment?
Conduct a search using the following keyword or citation: (a)(1) HARASSMENT. A person is guilty of the offense of harassment if, with the aim to harass, irritate, or alarm another person, he or she conducts any one of the following acts: a. A person is subjected to physical contact or assaulted when they are struck, shoved, kicked, or otherwise touched in any way.b.
A person who does this to another individual either uses language that is abusive or vulgar or makes a gesture that is offensive. (2) A threat, whether verbal or nonverbal and made with the intent to carry it out, that would cause a reasonable person who is the target of the threat to fear for his or her safety is considered to be harassment for the purposes of this section.
This definition applies whether the threat is made verbally or nonverbally. (3) Harassment is considered a misdemeanor of the third degree. (1) Harassment in all forms of communication A person is guilty of the offense of harassing communications if, with the intention to annoy or alarm another person, they do any one of the following actions: a.
They send an unsolicited email or text message to the target. The act of communicating with a person in a manner that is likely to annoy or create panic, either anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written or electronic contact, is considered to be a kind of cyberstalking.b.
Calls someone on the phone without the intention of having a real discussion or exchanging information, even if the call is answered.c. calls another individual and uses sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate language with that individual or in reference to that individual over telephone.
- There shall be no application of the provisions of this section to lawful business telephone calls.
- 2) Communicating in a harassing manner is considered a Class C misdemeanor.
- FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most up-to-date version of the law in your jurisdiction.
- Please cite this article as follows: FindLaw.com – Alabama Code Title 13A.
Criminal Code 13A-11-8 – last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-11-8.html FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most up-to-date version of the law Before depending on it for your legal needs, you are kindly requested to check the current standing of the code you are investigating with the state legislature or by using Westlaw.