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NYS - What really constitutes aggravated Harassment in the second degree? Family Court + Family Offense Petitions

Claverack, NY |

Is someone texting you something that is not alarming in itself when they have a restraining order against you considered aggravated harassment..or could a case at least be made for it in family court. There is no legitimate purpose and this person has a history of unstable behavior with me. It was alarming to me not because of the content but because of the context.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. " § 240.30 Aggravated harassment in the second degree.
    A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when,
    with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or
    she:
    1. Either (a) communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by
    telephone, by telegraph, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering
    any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause
    annoyance or alarm; or
    (b) causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic
    means or otherwise with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by
    telephone, by telegraph, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering
    any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause
    annoyance or alarm; or
    2. Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with
    no purpose of legitimate communication; ***"

    I would say that a person could be commit aggravated harassment in the second degree if the purpose would to cause "annoyance or alarm", and the context and history would be used to determine what "annoyance and alarm" subjectively TO YOU given the relationship and past events. The restraining order is "icing on the cake" and probably covers electronic telephonic and text messages and the texts are a violation of that order of protection as well. Thus, even statements that could be ambiguous or non criminal (e.g., "I saw Emily get off the school bus yesterday") might be actionable in the context you've presented here.


  2. Contacting someone who does not want to be contacted opens the door to a charge of aggravated harassment.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  3. It is possible. Whether you can go to family court with it, depends on who sent the text and you have not indicated that in your question. If family court is not an option depending on who sent the text, then you will have to speak to the local authorities about pressing charges. It will then be up to them to pursue or not pursue the charges. If you are the one with the restraining order against that person, was not texting you a part of the prohibited contact? If so, have them violated.