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Breaking down harassment laws in New York

When it comes to harassment laws in New York, there are four degrees for which you can face charges. It is important to understand what actions are technically harassment, and which actions result in heftier penalties. 

We understand the harassment laws in New York and have helped many of our clients with their harassment defense. 

First and second-degree harassment 

As reported on FindLaw, first-degree harassment occurs when you deliberately and frequently cause fear in someone with the following behaviors. Receiving a first-degree harassment charge is a class B misdemeanor. 

  • Causing them to fear for their safety with your actions 
  • Following them in public places 

Conversely, second-degree harassment happens when your actions become more severe. If you intentionally hit someone, or threaten to do so, that is second-degree harassment. Additionally, you may receive second-degree harassment charges if you act menacingly towards someone and your actions do not serve any rightful purpose. A second-degree harassment charge is technically a violation and will not result in jail time. 

Aggravated harassment charges 

You may face aggravated harassment charges if you intentionally threaten or instill fear in someone else because of their race, sexual orientation, skin color, disability, country of origin, age, ancestry, religious beliefs or gender. First-degree aggravated harassment includes actions that typically do not involve the victim directly. For example, defacing someone’s property with a swastika would be a first-degree offense, also considered a class E felony. Aggravated harassment in the second degree, however, typically involves direct interactions with the victim, such as a phone call or verbal threatening. Second-degree harassment is a class A misdemeanor. More information about this topic is available on our webpage.