couple yelling at one anotherThis is my third post in a series of articles which will discuss dealing with Peoria, Illinois charges of stalking and harassment. My last article addressed the topic of understanding Illinois’ harassment laws. The type of conduct that leads to harassment charges is often misunderstood. It is possible to be charged after not having been aware that the conduct constituted criminal harassment. Such charges are serious, and convictions can carry criminal penalties. Retaining a criminal defense attorney is crucial to one’s defense. In this post, I will discuss in more detail what type of conduct constitutes harassment. If you or someone you love needs assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Many Peoria residents are surprised that they can be charged with harassment

The crime of harassment includes transmission of obscene messages, harassment by telephone, and harassment through electronic communications. Other forms of harassment include stalking or cyberstalking. To “harass” is to engage in conduct that is not necessary to accomplish a reasonable purpose and which causes emotional distress to another. Examples of this are a pattern of lewd text messages, or repeatedly calling someone after they have asked you not to. Other examples can include communication that is threatening or causes someone to feel uncomfortable or disturbed.

Once law enforcement is involved it is common for a restraining order to be put in place. The matter is no longer a private affair, and the prosecuting office will determine whether or not to proceed with charges. If you contact the alleged victim, you will be in violation of the restraining order and subject to criminal penalties. Even if the conduct that resulted in the arrest is considered minor or was not intended to offend the victim, it is important that you take the charges seriously. By retaining an attorney, Peoria residents can guide you through the implications of the charges and start to obtain evidence to support you in the event of trial.

Retain a criminal defense lawyer immediately if you are accused of harassment

Even if you believe the charges made against you are fabricated, it is very important to take them seriously. It is understandable that you were unaware that certain conduct could be considered harassment. To prevent fabricated charges from resulting in a conviction, you must develop your own defense using evidence. Understanding the legal process and the elements of the crime is imperative to successfully defeating a charge. You should retain a lawyer immediately once you have been arrested. During the preparation of the prosecution’s case, your communication with the victim or investigators can be used against you. Hiring your own criminal defense counsel will allow there to always be someone present who is representing your interests.

As a Peoria criminal defense lawyer, I am experienced in handling stalking and harassment charges. I am a former prosecutor and familiar with the court system. Contact my office today to schedule an appointment with an attorney. We also serve the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Shuyler, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford. I also handle federal cases in Urbana.