The crime of harassment in Tennessee is a serious matter. It is usually a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 11 months and 29 days, although in some cases it could be a felony. If you have been charged with this offense in the Memphis area, contact a Memphis criminal lawyer for help in defending you in court and in keeping it from going on your record permanently. A permanent conviction for this type of crime can have many negative consequences. The harassment statute is found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 17. It states that a person commits [harassment] who intentionally: (1) Threatens, by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication, including, but not limited to, text messaging, facsimile transmissions, electronic mail or Internet services, to take action known to be unlawful against any person and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the recipient; (2) Places one (1) or more telephone calls anonymously, or at an hour or hours known to be inconvenient to the victim, or in an offensively repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication, and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the recipient; (3) Communicates by telephone to another that a relative or other person has been injured, killed or is ill when the communication is known to be false; or (4) Communicates with another person or transmits or displays an image in a manner in which there is a reasonable expectation that the image will be viewed by the victim by any method described in subdivision (a)(1), without legitimate purpose: (A) (i) With the malicious intent to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress; or (ii) In a manner the defendant knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities; and (B) As the result of the communication, the person is frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed. The felony provision of the law makes it a crime for anyone who has been convicted of an offense, while incarcerated, on probation, or parole for that offense, to make unwanted contact with the victim. Harassment can come in many forms. Communication through telephone and in writing are more traditional forms, and the law now criminalizes any type of electronic harassment as well. This can include email, text messaging, and social networking services such as Facebook. What constitutes harassment in Tennessee can be broad, and many people accused of this crime find themselves in a situation they did not intend to create. If this has happened to you, a criminal attorney in Memphis can explore all defenses and work to keep the charge off your record. Patrick Stegall is a Memphis criminal defense attorney dedicated to helping first-time offenders avoid jail sentences and permanent convictions. If you have been charged with a crime and need more information on what to do, contact Mr. Stegall by phone at (901) 205-9894 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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