Under §30-3A-2, harassment is a misdemeanor. Note, however, that the act of harassing someone can form the basis of stalking which can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Despite the misdemeanor status of harassment, it constitutes a serious offense.
As provided in §30-3A-2, harassment consists of:
- A person (defendant) knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct;
- The pattern of conduct is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person;
- The pattern of conduct serves no lawful purpose; and
- The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Considering both §30-3A-2 and UJI 14-330, some of the critical matters to keep in mind in harassment cases include:
- Since harassment is a misdemeanor offense, the magistrate and metropolitan courts can preside over these cases, as can the district courts.
- Harassment must include a pattern of conduct, rather than an isolated, single event.
- The pattern of conduct must be knowingly and maliciously pursued by the defendant.