Thu 25 Jan, 2024 Criminal Defense

How to Beat a PL 240.26 Harassment Charge

If you are facing a PL 240.26 harassment charge, your lawyer may be able to get your charges dropped.

That’s right.

PL 240.26 harassment charges are usually linked with more serious charges, like assault. When harassment is the top charge in a case, the odds of getting the charge dropped are very good.

This article discusses the PL 240.26 harassment charge, including the elements of the offense, common defenses, and typical outcomes.

If you are charged with PL 240.26 harassment in New York City, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation. We routinely handle harassment charges and can make sure you get the best possible outcome.

The Elements of a PL 240.26 Harassment Charge

PL 240.26 has 3 different subsections. Consequently, there are three different ways that you can be charged with PL 240.26 harassment.

The PL 240.26 statute reads as follows:

A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with
intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other
person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or

2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or

3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts
which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no
legitimate purpose.

Although you can be charged with subsections (2) or (3), by far, the most charged form of PL 240.26 harassment is subsection (1). Although strong defenses may exists for subsections (2) and (3), if you are charged with PL 240.26 you likely need to understand the common defenses for subdivision (1).

PL 240.26(1): No Contact Defense

The most basic type of PL 240.26(1) harassment allegation is, “the defendant slapped me.” If you are accused of slapping someone, then you can be charged with harassment. If your alleged slap also caused physical injury, then you may be facing the more serious criminal charge of Assault in the Third Degree.

With a harassment charge, the prosecution must prove that you actually made physical contact with the complainant. A skilled harassment lawyer can outline to the prosecution, court, and jury reasons why the complainant is not a credible witness.

For instance, many harassment allegations occur within the context of domestic violence allegations. Relationships can be very emotionally charged, and a partner or spouse can, in the heat of the moment, make up allegations or distort the facts. A partner might have biases or motives to lie against the defendant. For instance, if the partner suspects the defendant of infidelity or is trying to get child custody, the partner has clear biases and motives to lie. Your lawyer will make sure that these biases and motives to lie are revealed.

PL 240.26 Defense: No Intent Defense

To be guilty of PL 240.26 harassment, you must have intent to harass, annoy, or alarm someone. Even if you made physical contact with someone, that doesn’t mean that you intended to harass, annoy, or alarm them.

For instance, say that you are walking through crowded Times Square. At an intersection you accidentally trip and knock someone over. That person’s clothes get dirty, and they get so angry at you that they call the cops and say you harassed them. You would have a great defense because you didn’t intend to harass, annoy, or alarm someone. Your contact was accidental.

In another example, let’s say that, at the same intersection, you didn’t trip, but you tapped a person on the shoulder and told them to move once the pedestrian light turned green. The person gets upset that you touched them and calls the police. In that scenario, you intentionally contacted them. Although your contact was intentional, you didn’t intend to harass, annoy, or alarm them. You just intended to inform them that the light was green. In this scenario you would have a great defense.

Typical PL 240.26 Harassment Charge Outcomes

The outcome of you PL 240.26 will be very dependent on whether you face other charges. Assault charges are often linked with PL 240.26 charges, which makes it more difficult to get a quick dismissal. However, dismissals can still happen when more serious charges are attached. It’s important to contact an experienced criminal lawyer to make sure you move forward with a strategic defense.

If PL 240.26 harassment is your top charge, then odds are very good that your lawyer will be able to get your charges dropped, even if you actually did it.

Need Help?

If you are charged with PL 240.26 harassment in NYC, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation. We can discuss the facts of your case to discuss the best path forward in effort to get the charges dropped.