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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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I got arrested for harassment at a club last night. I was intoxicated

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I got arrested for harassment at a club last night. I was intoxicated but I swear I did not harass anyone. I had so much fun, was dancing on the dance floor and accidently knocked off the speakers and then next thing I knew I was getting kicked out the club and was in handcuffs by the police. My parents bailed me out in the morning but I have to go to court in a month. What is going to happen to me now? What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer.

Each state has different laws, obviously, so each state defines what constitutes "harassment" differently. Without knowing what state this occured in, I cannot tell you what the law says, or what specific penalties you may be facing. If you want to reply and let me know this information, I should be able to give you more specific information regarding the charge.

However, I can tell you that the first court appearance is just that - your first appearance before the court, a reading of the charge against you, and normally, when you would enter a plea. If you don't have an attorney, and cannot afford one, you can also request that a public defender be appointed, and the court will make a determination if you qualify.

It is to your benefit to plead not guilty. The state has the burden of proving that you are guilty of harassment beyond a reasonable doubt -you do not have the burden of proving your innocence. When you enter a not guilty plea, the case will be placed on the court's calendar, or docket, for a later date. This also gives you time to consult with your lawyer, to discuss the case with them, and for them to demand all discovery (evidence) that the state has against you. Once they have that information, the two of you can decide what your best course of action is. If you want to plead guilty, it is always better to have a lawyer try to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge or possible penalties.

If this is a first offense, a conviction likely would not result in jail time, but probation, a fine, community service, etc. Of course, no one wants a criminal conviction on their record - especially if you didn't do anything. In the meantime, before you speak to a lawyer, don't discuss the specifics of the case with anyone. Communications with your lawyer and his/her staff may be privileged, but conversations regarding your case you have with others, such as friends, are not. Furthermore, while I would not expect you to be contacted by the police prior to your hearing, if you are contacted and asked to give a statement or answer questions, do not do so without speaking with counsel first.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm in Hawaii. I have never been arrested before and didn't realize I was until I was in handcuffs :( But thank you so much for your time and the advice...now I have some idea of what to expect. Aloha :)

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Here is the statute (law) in Hawaii that defines what harassment is:

§711-1106 Harassment. (1) A person commits the offense of harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm any other person, that person:

(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches another person in an offensive manner or subjects the other person to offensive physical contact;

(b) Insults, taunts, or challenges another person in a manner likely to provoke an immediate violent response or that would cause the other person to reasonably believe that the actor intends to cause bodily injury to the recipient or another or damage to the property of the recipient or another;

(c) Repeatedly makes telephone calls, facsimile transmissions, or any form of electronic communication as defined in section(NNN) NNN-NNNN2), including electronic mail transmissions, without purpose of legitimate communication;

(d) Repeatedly makes a communication anonymously or at an extremely inconvenient hour;

(e) Repeatedly makes communications, after being advised by the person to whom the communication is directed that further communication is unwelcome; or

(f) Makes a communication using offensively coarse language that would cause the recipient to reasonably believe that the actor intends to cause bodily injury to the recipient or another or damage to the property of the recipient or another.

As you can see, it's fairly broad. I don't know what may have happened that night, but it would have had to be something under sections a, b, or f most likely. You'll also notice the statute requires intent. Thus, you must have meant to do your actions. Not that alcohol is ever a good excuse, but if you so were intoxicated as to not be aware of your surroundings, you may be able to argue that you couldn't have formed intent to harass anyone. At the very least, the fact that you were drinking at the time should be discussed with your lawyer.

Petty Misdemeanor offenses are criminal offenses that are punishable by up to 6 months of incarceration. Petty misdemeanors may also be punishable by probationary terms of 6 to 12 months and fines up to $1000. Jail time upon a conviction for a first offense would be extremely unlikely with probation much more likely.

Your first court appearance for a petty misdemeanor offense would be an an arraignment and plea. At your initial court date, you will be informed of the charges against you. The judge will then set your case for trial and give you time to consult with an attorney.

Hope this helps. If you need additional information, please reply, otherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating, as that is the only way I am credited for my time assisting you.
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 10266
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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