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Orland Park Harassment Charges Lawyer

Will County Criminal Defense Attorney for Harassment by Telephone or Electronic Communication

Harassment Through Electronic Communication

While Illinois has long had laws in place prohibiting harassment by telephone, Illinois passed a new law in 2013 prohibiting harassment through other forms of electronic communication. While "electronic communication" is broad for the purposes of this law, it also specifically includes some of the most common forms of communication today, including: texts, e-mails, and voice mails.

The law prohibits activity that is commonly associated with "harassment," but also prohibits activity that would not commonly be considered "harassment." As listed above, transferring files or documents that would prevent a person from using their electronic communication device would qualify as Harassment through Electronic Communication, although many individuals may not necessarily consider the act "harassment." An example of this would be sending a file, via email, that contained a virus that causes the recipient's computer, mobile phone, or tablet to stop operating or functioning properly.

While an individual may consent to the actions above, thereby negating any criminal liability, that individual must be 13 years old or older. Therefore, if a 12 year old consents to being transmitted any of the above communications and the sender is at least 16 years old, the sender may still be charged and convicted of Harassment through Electronic Communications. In fact, this very action would raise the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Finally, a second or subsequent violation of this law mandates a minimum jail term of 14 days or 240 hours of community service.

Harassment by Telephone

Several actions can constitute Harassment by Telephone under Illinois law. While the obvious act of calling an individual to make lewd or offensive comments clearly constitutes harassment, the act of calling, without any conversation occurring, can also constitute harassment in Illinois.

Additionally, calling an individual and causing the telephone to ring, with the intent to harass the individual, also qualifies as Harassment by Telephone even if no person answers the ring.

In order for a person to be convicted of Harassment by Telephone, the state must successfully prove that the caller intended to harass the recipient. This often may be difficult to prove when the caller does not explicitly make a comment that can be perceived as intending to harass. For instance, a caller who makes repeated phone calls, without any conversation, can be convicted for Harassment by Telephone only if the caller intended to harass the recipient. Yet, without actual statements by the caller to the recipient or police indicating such intent, it would be challenging for a judge or jury to convict the individual.

While Harassment by Telephone may initially appear to be a minor crime, Illinois law mandates a minimum jail term for a second or subsequent violation of this or other harassment-based communication offenses.

The Sentence

First Offense

Class B Misdemeanor
  • Up to 180 days in county jail
  • Fine of up to $1,500

Second or Subsequent violation

Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to 364 days in county jail
  • Fine up to $2,500
  • Mandatory Minimum 14 days in county jail or 240 hours of community service

Class 4 Felony if:

  1. The person has 3 or more prior harassment violations in the last 10 years.
  2. The person has previous harassment violations with the same victim or a member of the victim's family or household.
  3. The offender committed harassment while out on bail, under conditions of probation, or was the subject of an order of protection.
  4. The offender threatened to kill the victim or a member of their family.
  5. The person was convicted of a "forcible felony" within the last 10 years.
  6. At the time of the offense, the person above the age of 18 and the victim was under the age of 18.
  • 1 to 3 years in state prison
  • Fine of up to $25,000

Probation Possible? Yes.

Supervision Possible? Yes, on Misdemeanor offenses.

Success Story: Being charged with this crime is more common than one might think, especially in the "cell phone age". These days, it is very easy, using a cell phone, to keep dialing another person, over and over and over. Where we have seen this charge the most, as you might imagine, is in "break-up" situations – where one person has just ended a relationship with the other. There is a line between calling another to discuss a relationship, over and over; and harassing the person. There are numerous defenses to this charge, and we have been successful in asserting these defenses on behalf of our client.

Contact a Frankfort Harassment Defense Attorney

If you are facing harassment charges related to the use of telephones or electronic communication, contact us at 708-966-2408 and learn about your options for defense in a free consultation.

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