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Harassing a person in the name of love or hate does not make any difference.

- P.S. Jagadeesh Kumar


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Arizona Small Business Law Internet Law

There is nothing worse than being harassed ... and it doesn't matter if you know the person or if they are some wacko stranger on the Internet ... either way, it sucks.  Chances are, if you found yourself here on this page, you or someone you know has an issue and you are looking for someone to help make the harassment stop.  That's where we can come in.  If you're ready to talk about harassment that you are experiencing, Contact us to set an appointment for a virtual consultation from the comfort of your own home or office!  

Criminal Harassment

In this type of a matter, the state files charges against the perpetrator in criminal court for breaking state harassment laws.

Under current Arizona criminal law (until September 24, 2022 when the newly worded statute replaces it - 2022 2nd Reg. Sess. Ch. 278, § 2), "harassment" is defined as "conduct that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person." A.R.S. § 13-2921(E).

A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass or with knowledge that the person is harassing another person, the person:

  • Anonymously or otherwise contacts, communicates or causes a communication with another person by verbal, electronic, mechanical, telegraphic, telephonic or written means in a manner that harasses.
  • Continues to follow another person in or about a public place for no legitimate purpose after being asked to desist.
  • Repeatedly commits an act or acts that harass another person.
  • Surveils or causes another person to surveil a person for no legitimate purpose.
  • On more than one occasion makes a false report to a law enforcement, credit or social service agency.
  • Interferes with the delivery of any public or regulated utility to a person.

Harassment under any of the above listed actions is a class 1 misdemeanor. A.R.S. § 13-2921(A), (C).

A person commits harassment against a public officer or employee if the person, with intent to harass, files a nonconsensual lien against any public officer or employee that is not accompanied by an order or a judgment from a court of competent jurisdiction authorizing the filing of the lien or is not issued by a governmental entity or political subdivision or agency pursuant to its statutory authority, a validly licensed utility or water delivery company, a mechanics’ lien claimant or an entity created under covenants, conditions, restrictions or declarations affecting real property.  

Harassment under the above listed action is a class 5 felony.  A.R.S. § 13-2921(B), (C).

While a one time occurrence may be super obnoxious, it's not likely to meet the definition of criminal harassment.  Also, this statute doesn't apply to an otherwise lawful demonstration, assembly or picketing.

Civil Harassment

​In a civil harassment case, the victim sues the perpetrator directly for damages relating to a violation of federal, state or local employment laws.  In a lot of cases, your goal may to just get the harassment to stop.  This is where an Injunction Against Harassment (or Order of Protection if it's a domestic relationship situation) can come into play.

An Injunction Against Harassment can be a tool to help get the perpetrator to stop their misconduct.

Under current Arizona civil law (until September 24, 2022 when the newly worded statute replaces it - 2022 2nd Reg. Sess. Ch. 278, § 2), "harassment" for the purpose of obtaining an Injunction Against Harassment means any of the following:

  • A series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(T)(1)(a).
  • One or more acts of sexual violence as defined in A.R.S. § 23-371.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(T)(1)(b).
  • Any contact if the person is the victim of a crime that was committed by the defendant.  For the purposes of this, the term "crime" means a conviction for an offense, whether completed or preparatory, that is a dangerous offense as defined in A.R.S. § 13-706 or any offense in title 13, chapter 14 or 35.1.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(T)(1)(c).

In this instance, unlawful picketing, trespassory assembly, unlawful mass assembly, concerted interference with lawful exercise of business activity and engaging in a secondary boycott as defined in A.R.S. § 23-1321 and defamation in violation of A.R.S. § 23-1325 is included in the definition of "harassment."  A.R.S. § 12-1809(T)(2).

Obtaining an Injunction Against Harassment

A person may file a verified petition with a magistrate, justice of the peace, or superior court judge in the state of Arizona for an injunction prohibiting harassment.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(A) 

The court will review the petition, and any other pleadings on file and any evidence offered by the Plaintiff, including any evidence of harassment by electronic contact or communication, to determine whether the injunction requested should be issued without a further hearing.  If the court finds reasonable evidence of harassment of the plaintiff by the defendant during the year preceding the filing of the petition or that good cause exists to believe that great or irreparable harm would result to the plaintiff if the injunction is not granted before the defendant or the defendant's attorney can be heard in opposition and the court finds specific facts attesting to the plaintiff's efforts to give notice to the defendant or reasons supporting the plaintiff's claim that notice should not be given, the court shall issue an injunction.  If the court denies the requested relief, it may schedule a further hearing within ten days with reasonable notice to the defendant.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(E)

If the court issues an injunction, pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1809(F) the court may do any of the following:

  1. Enjoin the defendant from committing a violation of one or more acts of harassment.
  2. Restrain the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or other specifically designated persons and from coming near the residence, place of employment or school of the plaintiff or other specifically designated locations or persons.
  3. Grant relief necessary for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons proper under the circumstances.

At any time during the period during which the injunction is in effect, the defendant is entitled to one hearing on written request and any such hearing shall be held within 10 days from the date requested unless the court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing.  Such hearing should be held at the earliest possible time.  After the hearing, the court may modify, quash or continue the injunction.  A.R.S. § 12-1809(H)

If you're in a position where you are being harassed, and want help with efforts to get the perpetrator to stop, contact us to discuss your options!  ​​​

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