Before cell phones, making prank or harassing phone calls required more effort. Now, it only takes a couple of quick taps on a phone and send a few offensive “emoji” symbols to harass someone. This is unfortunate, as many people charged with making obscene or annoying phone calls weren’t even aware they were committing a crime.
It’s important to know that California Penal Code 653m PC forbids any kinds of harassment via electronic devices. This could be anything from a telephone to a fax machine. Individuals who engage in such behavior are committing a misdemeanor offense and could be facing fines or jail time if convicted.
The trick to this charge concerns what it means to harass someone. For the prosecution to be successful, they’ll need to prove that the offending person intended to harass the victim.
These cases usually come down to the relationship between the two people, their communication history, and the intent of the sender. For instance, if someone gets fired from their job and sends offensive texts and images to their manager following the layoff, this could be an annoying phone call case. But, if the employee and manager have a long history of sending “joking” texts to one another, it may be more difficult to prove a crime was committed. Even if the sender did intend to harass the victim, it could be hard to prove.
If there wasn’t a prior relationship and the same situation happened, the at-fault party may have been unaware that what they sent could be considered a crime. Because of the “social” culture in which we live today, many people – especially teenagers and college kids – are unaware that their actions online or over the phone can have serious consequences. This is why it’s critical to get a criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight your charges.
Call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 530-9690 to discuss your case. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.