Criminal Harassment

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 43A punishes those who willfully and maliciously engage in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts that cause another to suffer substantial emotional distress with imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years.  The penalties for a second or subsequent offense for the crime of Criminal Harassment can lead to commitment to state prison for up to 10 years.

In order to be convicted of the crime of Criminal Harassment, the prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. That the defendant knowingly engaged in a pattern of conduct or speech, or a series of acts, on at least three separate occasions, directed at the alleged victim;
  2. That those actions were of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress;
  3. That those actions did cause the alleged victim to become seriously alarmed; and
  4. That the defendant engaged in those actions willfully and malicously.
As stated above, the prosecutor must prove a pattern of conduct that includes a minimum of three incidents of harassment; that each incident was directed at the alleged victim; and that the defendant intended that the alleged victim know that each of these incidents was directed at him/her.

For purposes of this crime under Massachusetts criminal law, 'substantial emotional distress' means that the offending conduct must be such as would produce a considerable or significant amount of emotional distress in a reasonable person.  Substantial emotional distress means something more than the level of uneasiness, nervousness, or unhappiness.

An act is 'willful" if it is done intentionally and by design, and not out of mistake or accident.  An act is done with 'malice' if the defendant's conduct was intentional and without justification or mitigation, and any reasonable person would have foreseen the actual harm that resulted.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in defending persons accused of the crime of Criminal Harassment, as well as other
Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence.

To schedule a Free Consultation and to discuss your criminal case with Attorney Travayiakis, Contact Us Online or call 617-325-9500.