Criminal Harassment Charges
Toronto Criminal Harassment Defence
Criminal Harassment or “Stalking”
This charge is becoming more commonplace than ever before in Ontario courts and carries a stigma that people will want to avoid. A criminal harassment conviction can make a person unattractive to potential employers and cause difficulty in trying to enter the United States. A finding of guilt for criminal harassment also carries with it a mandatory ten-year weapons prohibition. Prosecutors will routinely request DNA from criminal offenders to put on the Canadian DNA databank.
The consequences of a finding of guilt are severe, and it is recommended that people consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to determine the best course of action when faced with this type of charge.
Getting Charged with Criminal Harassment
There is a certain “creep” factor associated with the charge of criminal harassment. The media has generated an environment where people think “stalking” will always lead to killing or sexual abuse. Often the behaviour that leads to the charge falls short of the actual criminal definition. Sometimes it’s just “teenage angst” or other times it’s a complainant exaggerating what actually happened. Weisberg Law understands that not everyone charged with criminal harassment is a “stalker”.
Information on Criminal Harassment
The following information has been prepared to give people a general understanding of criminal harassment law in Canada. It is recommended that a lawyer is hired whenever facing this type of charge to ensure that the advice given and received is current. Do not try to defend this charge without hiring a lawyer.
The Act of Criminal Harassment
The following activities will be considered criminal harassment (or “stalking”) by the courts:
- Repeatedly following a complainant or someone known to them
- Repeatedly communicating with a complainant or someone known to them
- Watching or “besetting” a known place where the complainant will likely be found
- Employing threatening conduct toward the complainant or someone known to them
To be found guilty of criminal harassment, the accused must either know or be reckless as to whether the complainant is harassed by one or more of the above-mentioned forms of conduct. Further, the complainant must reasonably in the circumstances have been fearful of their safety or the safety of someone known to them as a result of the conduct.