On May 27, 2020, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill to strengthen the state’s harassment law after the state Supreme Court threw out part of the existing statute last fall. The justices said that the threshold to charge someone with harassment was so low that it conflicted with the First Amendment.
According to the new law, there must be “clear intent” that someone is harassing another. Additionally, the alleged offender’s actions must provoke a reasonable fear of serious injury or cause significant emotional harm.
Both lawmakers and victim advocates agree that the new statute addresses the concerns of the Supreme Court and bolsters protection for victims. After the state’s highest court struck down, legislators acted quickly to sign a new bill after a person – who had been convicted under the old law – had his case dismissed and was subsequently released.
Harassment means causing someone to feel afraid, intimidated, threatened, or persecuted. Common forms of harassment include stalking or repeatedly contacting another person.
Harassment is considered a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota, punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. Furthermore, an arrest can also lead to being subject to a harassment restraining order, which forbids any contact with the alleged victim.
If you have been accused of harassment in Moorhead, Clay County, or Cass County, contact Joe Irby Law Firm today and schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm provides legal services in criminal defense, family law, business law, and civil litigation.