In Canada, criminal harassment is an unlawful act of bothering a victim in a way that leaves the victim reasonably fearful for their safety. This can include communicating with the victim repeatedly, such as making unwanted phone calls or sending offending emails and text messages. Stalking or following someone, resulting in the victim to fear for their safety is also considered as criminal harassment.
Common defences for people charged with criminal harassment offences vary from one case to another, including the relationship between the complainant and the accused. A vital step in understanding what criminal harassment charged defences are applicable in your legal issue is to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer. An Expert attorney will assess your case properly and help you find the best defence to your individual case.
How Can a Criminal Defence Lawyer Help Me Drop My Criminal Harassment Charges?
There are some ways in which a criminal defence attorney can help you get your criminal harassment charges dropped.
One way is to sign a peace bond; signing a peace bond will require you to stay away from the victim and to avoid contacting them for one year. Meanwhile, you will also need to comply with specific conditions, including displaying good behaviour and keeping the peace at all times, and reporting to probation when required. Signing the peace bond will result in the removal of charges against you, leading to avoiding a criminal record.
Another way to drop your criminal harassment charges is through completion of a diversion program; Alternative Measures Program AMP or a mental health diversion program. The diversion program will require you to complete actions like community service, counselling, or additional treatments over the course of a few months. Completing the program will result in the removal of charges against you, helping you to avoid a criminal record.
Nonetheless, due to the violent and severe nature of criminal harassment, it may not be easy to achieve this type of resolution. If you get charged with this criminal offence, you must contact a professional criminal defence lawyer at the earliest. They can identify weaknesses in your legal case to leverage in negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. This will help secure your diversion program admission or to have your criminal charges withdrawn through a peace bond.
Suppose the Crown doesn’t deem to resolve your legal matter with a peace bond or through diversion. In such a case, you can still avoid a criminal record with an application for a discharge. Receiving a conditional discharge will require you to comply with specific requirements set by the court of law for a stipulated time period.
When you don’t breach those conditions, it will result in absolute discharge, resulting in clearing your criminal record altogether. Receiving an absolute discharge means you will be discharged from your alleged criminal offence without needing to comply with any conditions.
Criminal Harassment Charge Defences
One effective way is to argue that the complainant’s fear was not reasonable under the circumstances. You can talk about your relationship with the complainant, or the context, and history of your communication with them. This will help show that there’s no basis on which they can reasonably claim that your behaviour was threatening.
Conversely, you can also argue that you didn’t have the mental intent required to commit the offence. You can say that you didn’t mean to make the complainant feel afraid and that you didn’t know that your behaviour would somewhat cause them to feel fear. Nonetheless, you will also need to display that you were not willfully blind or reckless as to whether your behaviour would make them feel harassed.
Slaferek Callihoo is an experienced criminal defence law firm based in Edmonton that deals with the successful defence of various criminal offences. Visit our website to learn about our expert legal services or contact us for free legal consultation.