Passion, Knowledge & Experience
Innocent and Facing Charges That Would Have Ruined My Life
What should I do about Harassment Charges from my ex?
It can be hard for people to let go of a relationship they cherished, and when their partner finally ends things... well, not everybody handles that loss gracefully. Scorned lovers, even though they might still feel an intense love, often also feel an intense anger - especially when they see the person they still love with somebody new.
Harassment can either be charged under Penal Law 240.26 Harassment 2nd Degree (a non-criminal violation that can be sealed after 12 months), or under Penal Law 240.25 Harassment 1st Degree (a Class B Misdemeanor crime that might stay on your rap sheet forever). There are also Aggravated Harassment statutes. It all depends on what exactly happened.
In either case, if you find yourself in a position where your ex calls the police, I offer a few basic tips:
- Don't give a statement to police. It won't help you. I know you think you can talk your way out of this. Don't try. Just tell the police you won't talk without a lawyer present. Remember, "You have the right to remain silent...," so use it.
- If Harassment charges are brought against you, remain calm, and call the best lawyer you can find. A good lawyer will not just talk about legal strategies and how wonderful they are; instead, a good lawyer will coach you through the entire process, help you defuse the situation, and guide you toward an outcome that may even include a dismissal of the case.
- Remember that it never helps to make a bad situation worse. Don't pressure your ex to "drop the charges," because your ex has no control over whether you are prosecuted. Once charges are filed, it's in the hands of the District Attorney's office. The case against you will be captioned, "The People of the State of New York v. John Doe," not "John Doe's Ex v. John Doe." You might not realize it, but your ex (yes, the same person who called the police) is the only person who can help you, so please don't make him or her even angrier while setting yourself up for a Witness Tampering charge.
Ultimately, many Harassment charges do result in an outright dismissal of the case. You need to remain calm, find a lawyer you trust, and follow that attorney's advice to the letter. If you find yourself in a similar situation, Contact us at (585) 485-0025 for a free telephone consultation and case evaluation.