Workplace harassment is considered an abusive or hostile environment between co-workers, or employees and employers. Typically, workplace harassment is resolved outside the criminal justice system, but it may be a criminal matter if the harassment is severe enough. Texas has separate laws pertaining to criminal harassment.

How Is Criminal Harassment Defined in Texas?

Criminal harassment is defined as the intent to do the following to another individual:

  • Alarm
  • Harass
  • Annoy
  • Embarrass
  • Torment
  • Abuse

What Must Be Proven for a Conviction of Criminal Harassment in Texas?

The state must prove the defendant had the intent to harass, alarm, or torment another individual by:

  • Initiating communication with the victim and during the course of the communication requesting or suggesting something obscene.
  • Communicating with the victim in a way that would cause them alarm by making a report that someone they know suffered bodily injury or died.
  • Communicating a threat in a way that causes alarm to the victim receiving the threat. The threat can be an intent to cause bodily injury to the victim, victim’s property, or victim’s family.
  • Making telephone calls and intentionally failing to hang or end the call.
  • Making repeated telephone calls in a way that will reasonably annoy, harass, abuse, torment, or offend the victim.
  • Sending repeated electronic communications in a way that will cause alarm, harass, embarrass, or offend the victim.
  • Allowing someone who is harassing a victim to use their phone to make repeated phone calls.

What Does “Obscene” Refer to in a Harassment Charge?

Texas defines “obscene” as communication containing an offensive description or a solicitation for a sexual act.

What Is the Punishment for Criminal Harassment in Texas?

Criminal harassment is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense. This is punishable by:

  • Not more than 180 days in jail
  • $2,000 fine
  • Both county jail time and a fine

If it is a second or subsequent criminal harassment conviction, it is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by:

  • Approximately one year in jail
  • $4,000 fine
  • Both jail and fine

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Case?

Yes because being charged with criminal harassment is serious. Contact a Texas lawyer immediately to start working on resolving your charge.