You may need a harassment lawyer for your new misdemeanor charge — I do eventually want to appeal the constitutionality of this statute, so if your charge is a good fit for my argument, let’s get ready to write some legal briefs.
Iowa law defines three classes (or “degrees”) of harassment.
First and second degree charges involve threatening to hurt people, sharing nude or sex images of people without their consent, or having repeated prior offenses.
Being convicted of this crime can seriously impact your current and future employment. Additionally, it could seriously impact your dating life or relationship. Unless your record is expunged, your conviction will be publicly visible forever and may scare off potential employers and partners.
You might be charged with harassment if you:
- Communicate with someone by telephone, telegraph, writing, or email “without legitimate purpose” and “in a manner likely to cause the other person annoyance or harm.”
- Put a fake explosive or fake incendiary device in or near a building, vehicle, airplane, railroad engine or railroad car, or boat occupied by another person.
- Order merchandise or services in somebody else’s name
- Have merchandise or services delivered to somebody else without their knowledge or consent.
- Report (or cause to be reported) what you know is a lie to a law enforcement authority to get someone in trouble.
- Share images of someone who is fully or partly nude or who is doing a sex act when you know they haven’t consented to you sharing those images.
- Purposefully and without legitimate purpose, have personal contact with another person, with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or alarm that other person.
Harassment First Degree
If your charge involves a threat to commit a forcible felony or involves sharing pictures of someone fully or partially nude or who is engaged in a sex act (knowing that that person doesn’t consent to you sharing those images,) you may be charged with harassment in the first degree.
If you have been convicted of harassment three or more times, all future charges will be in the first degree.
Harassment, first degree is an aggravated misdemeanor.
The penalty for first degree harassment is a fine of $625 – $6250 and up to two years imprisonment.
Harassment Second Degree
If you are accused of harassment involving a threat to commit bodily injury to someone, you may be charged with harassment, second degree.
Also, if you have two prior harassment convictions, your third harassment charge will be harassment in the second degree (unless it’s first degree.)
Harassment in the second degree is a serious misdemeanor. If you were convicted of second degree harassment, you would be fined $315 – $1875 and could spend up to a year in jail.
Harassment Third Degree
A conviction for Harassment, Third Degree means that you will be fined $65 – $625 (plus surcharges) and could spend up to 30 days in jail.
You could be eligible for a deferred judgment if you plead guilty or are convicted. Talk to your lawyer about your options.
We can help you figure out what to do about criminal charges in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Reading this site doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. If you want to talk to us about representing you in Iowa, please contact us at (515) 491 6128 and we’ll set up a time to talk.