Annoying or Harassing Telephone Calls in Los Angeles

Harassing Telephone Calls

Domestic violence offenses encompass crimes beyond domestic assault and domestic battery. In fact, a person can be investigated and charged with a domestic violence related crime even where they have no physical contact with the victim. Making annoying or harassing telephone calls under California Penal Code Section 653(m) PC is an example of a criminal offense that can be considered a crime of domestic violence, even where there is no physical violence involved. The California legislature has prohibited this type of conduct and those who violate this law can face extensive criminal penalties, including jail time.

Criminal Elements of Annoying/Harassing Phone Calls

In order to convict a defendant of making harassing or annoying phone calls, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made telephone contact with the victim or contact through text messages, emails, faxes, instant messages or any other form of electronic communication, that the messages were either obscene, threatening or repeated and that the defendant did this with the intent to annoy the victim.

It is important to note that a defendant can be charged with this offense even when the messages sent were not obscene or offensive. If the defendant repeatedly sends messages to the victim despite being told not to, he or she could be criminally liable under California Penal Code Section 653(m) PC.

Annoying and Harassing Phone Calls v. Criminal Stalking

Making annoying or harassing phone calls is a criminal offense that is often associated with criminal stalking. Under California Penal Code Section 646.9 PC, stalking another person is a potential felony that can result in a prison sentence. Stalking is a more serious crime than making annoying or harassing phone calls as stalking requires that the defendant physically follows another person and makes a credible threat against the other person in order to put that person in fear.

Annoying or harassing phone calls also involves persistent behavior; however the conduct involved is usually obscene or repeated contact rather than conduct that induces fear. If the phone calls or text messages become threatening or are made in violation of a protective order, the defendant may be charged with stalking and can face significantly more severe criminal penalties.

Annoying or Harassing Phone Calls and Domestic Violence

In many cases, one party may send unwanted or repeated communications to an ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend or girlfriend after a break-up. If these communications are obscene or do not stop when asked, the police may investigate this as a domestic violence crime. The recipient of the communications may be encouraged to get a restraining order. If granted, any further communication from the other party would be considered a violation of the restraining order and lead to criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 273.6 PC.

Annoying or Harassing Phone Calls Penalties

Making annoying or harassing phone calls is a misdemeanor level offense. Those who are convicted can face up to six months in jail and costly court fines. The defendant would also have a criminal conviction on his or her record that could be accessed by future employers, landlords or anyone else conducting a criminal background search.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for making harassing or annoying phone calls, it is critical that you discuss your situation with an attorney who specializes in these types of offenses right away. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to effectively represent clients charged with making annoying or harassing phone calls or any other domestic violence offense.

For more information about domestic violence and annoying or harassing telephone calls, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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