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Harassment offenses in Colorado

People may be charged with the crime of harassment in Colorado if they do such things as strike, hit, shove or physically contact another person with the intent to cause the person alarm or to annoy them. Harassment may also be charged if a person uses obscene language or makes obscene gestures towards another person in public or if they follow another person around in a public place. It can also constitute harassment if a person calls another at inconvenient hours or makes repeated telephone calls.

A person who has committed harassment as defined above may be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor with the possibility of county jail time. The offense may be punished much more severely, however, if the harassment is committed by stalking the other person.

For the first time a person is convicted of harassment by stalking, the crime is a class 6 felony offense with the possibility of prison time. If the person is convicted for a second offense of harassment by stalking, the crime is a class 5 felony offense with the potential of a longer prison sentence.

A conviction for harassment that has an added domestic violence sentencing enhancer may bring additional consequences far beyond the conviction itself. People who have a domestic violence conviction are prohibited from gun ownership, even if the conviction was for a misdemeanor-level offense. A domestic violence sentencing enhancer may also lead the person into probation with mandatory domestic violence treatment. Those who are accused of any level of harassment may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney in order to prepare a defense strategy. For example, if the person is accused of harassment by using obscene language, an attorney may file a motion challenging how the law is applied based on constitutional grounds.

Source: Colorado Judicial Branch, "List of Laws", accessed on Feb. 15, 2015

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