We represent a lot of clients who are charged with criminal harassment. And I want to talk to you today about how to get a criminal harassment charge dropped. So first of all, what’s criminal harassment? Well, the definition the Criminal Code is, you know, repeatedly stalking someone following them from place to place or repeated communications with them, causing them reasonable fear. Subjective fear, that’s reasonable. Obviously, if you’re stalking someone and continually calling them, even if there’s not threats made, eventually that person has fear, right? Another form of it is actually watching their dwelling house. You’re sitting out on the curb day after day watching it like us. So how do we get this type of charge dropped? Well, first of all, it’s not easy, but there are situations where the harassments on a more minor scale for example, in the context of a breakup, sometimes people go a bit crazy and they keep communicating. But at some point, it becomes fearful for the other party, of course, now, you know, sometimes the crown in that type of situation where it’s kind of understandable, let’s face the behaviours, not when I’m not condoning the behaviour, but in the context of a bitter breakup, sometimes a husband or wife making repeated phone calls over the course of few days. It happens, let’s face it, so in our criminal justice system will sometimes give a break to that type of person. They’ve never been in trouble before. They have no criminal record. And we might the crown that is might agree through extensive negotiation to divert their charge. In other words, they’re going to agree to what’s called the direct accountability program, where they might do some community service they might do a letter of apology, things of this nature to you know, show they’re not condoning their conduct, but showing their apologetic and then they made amends. Because why would we saddle a person with a record in the situation to make 15 phone calls in the context of a breakup of, a relationship? I mean, is it really necessary. But then of course, and that’s a great result. Obviously kidding. Attorneys drop that’s what people want. We represent a lot of people in these types of charges. But then of course, criminal harassment can become quite serious it can become “Whoa, you know,” to the point where direct accountability programs not feasible. Now, on the direct accountability program, they’ll usually do a peace bond to keep the peace and be of good behavior. Where you don’t contact the victim for a year. And that’s not a criminal record, though. Is this not going to show up on a criminal record check. So what if we have one of these more serious cases where the crown is not willing to do that? Well, the next step is we’re going to try to negotiate what’s called a conditional discharge, which means you’re discharged in other words, you don’t receive a conviction or a criminal record on terms of probation. The probation terms are going to be not to communicate or contact with the with the victim for say a year and to report to a probation officer, maybe there’s some community service involvement. So both of those would be great results. Of course, there’s no question. The probably criminal harassment though it’s a slippery slope. Once we get beyond those more minor less aggravated situations, you can often be facing a jail term and we’ll counsel clients look at this is pretty serious, we’re going to be lucky it’s going to be a great result if we avoid a jail term for you. And this of course, assuming the person’s guilty, we represent a lot of people who, who profess their innocence and will go to trial and we often find those type of cases. So the bottom line with criminal harassment, it’s a range of conduct from really minor just barely processed the edge where we can get a great result in a pointer record or even a little bit more along the along the lines are a little bit more serious.  The crown will play ball and give us a good result. Up to a very serious where a person could be facing months in jail from just, you know, terrible aggravated conduct causing a person cowering in their home. So there you have it. That’s how we’re able to often get more minor charges of criminal harassment dropped or the next step-up conditional discharge where we at least avoid a criminal record. And the person can get on with their life.

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