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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17042
Experience:  Licensed Atty, 28 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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Hello. I had a complaint registered against me by an ex girlfriend

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Hello. I had a complaint registered against me by an ex girlfriend when- I stopped by her house and talked with her mom after bringing her gifts. Her mom was happy to see me, very nice, and I told her I would be by later to bring my ex the gifts. I stopped by a few days later and dropped the gifts off. Her mom invited me into the house, we talked about my ex, she never explained to me that her daughter was seeing anyone else or that her daughter did not want to see me any longer. I received an email from my ex the day later thanking me for the gifts and explaining that she would call me in 4 days. She did, and during the conversation she explained briefly what she had been doing, I explained how much I wanted to see her. She could not see me that day, the time was 5:30pm and told me she had to bring her car into the shop for a problem she could not identify, and said she would call me in a few days. I was a little skeptical about the car story, seeing as most shops close at between 5 and 6pm, and you can't get your car in for work that late. So a friend of mine and I stopped by her friend's house. I had done work on her friend's computer a couple times, her friend was always polite to me and I thought it would be a way to find out indirectly what was going on with my ex. We stopped by, we were polite, I explained I was curious if she could tell me anything that is going on in my ex's life. I told her how much I loved my ex, how important to me she was and how I would like to learn what I could do to repair this relationship with her input. Her friend gave me her cell phone number, said she couldn't talk after the brief conversation, and told me to give her a call in the future if I wanted. The next day I get a call from a police department explaining how a complaint was filed by my ex for harassment. I asked the officer on the phone how a charge could be filed for bringing her mom cookies, never being told to stay away, and dropping off a pair of shoes, a new leash for her dog, and a couple CD's I made for her of music I thought she might like. I also said my discussion with her friend was cordial and on friendly terms. The officer said my friend looked dirty (which he was), and we were drunk- which was not true. The officer said yes I told your ex there was no grounds for a harassment charge but she wishes no more future communication with you in any form. My question is this. How does the law work when one party wishes to end communication when the other party is not badgering with calls, stopping by a workplace, or being belligerent in any form. How can acts of kindness, if not done in an overwhelming or intrusive or abusive way be grounds for a complaint? If I continue to communicate with her is their legal grounds for law enforcement or legal parties to get involved because one side says I don't want to talk to you anymore, even though our relationship was never abusive on my part in any form?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. Although it is doubtful that the behavior you described before you received this warning from the police would sustain a guilty finding for harassment or stalking, once you have received the warning and the clear statement that your ex-girlfriend wants to be left along, the who picture changes. You are now clearly on notice and any continued behavior such as you described could be charged as harassment, or more likely stalking. So, I would highly recommend that you heed the warning and try to move on. I understand that you might not have been lead to believe that this behavior was upsetting to your ex girlfriend, but very seldom does a person feel comfortable in these situations to say that straight to the person they feel is stalking or harassing them. But, in any event, you are now on notice and everything has change from here on out.

You can see what the Colorado statutes on these charges say, by going to: http://www.mycoloradodefenselawyer.com/criminal-charges/harassment-stalking/

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi there. Harassment seems to be based on degrading the other party, not building them up. Stalking i'm not sure of, the law seems to be based upon invading someone else's comfort zone when that other person has made it clear they do not want to be "bothered". So it seems you seem to be advocating that even acts of kindness could be construed as harassment. For instance, the other party could contend that they don't like nice things, in fact nice things make them feel uncomfortable. But the guy who plays jazz in a car living next door to me annoys me and makes me feel uncomfortable yet my comfort has no sway over his rights to express himself as a person. Yet one can't have it both ways. I would understand if the person made it clear to me I don't like sweet things, and they make me feel sick. But that was never made clear. Stalking as far as I know hasn't been addressed by gifts given to someone, especially of such a benign tone, as to raise a legal issue. The stalker basic's seem to be coming nowhere close to this, and as far as I have searched on google, it's hard to tell someone to stop communicating with you if it's not based on libel, or defamation. If this is a new legal precedent being set that gestures of kindness or in fact hurtful, then she is saying she likes things that aren't kind, but if i'm unkind in any way then I am more liable to be considered harassing. One can't have it both ways.

 

harassment basics in Colorado...

  • Striking, shoving, kicking or touching another person,
  • Directing obscene language or gestures to another person in a public place,
  • Following a person in a public place,
  • Calling someone or contacting them by phone, computer, or other system with intent to harass, or threaten, or makes obscene calls,
  • Calling another person repeatedly whether or not a conversation happens,
  • Repeatedly communicating at inconvenient hours, or
  • Repeatedly insulting, taunting, or challenging someone in a manner likely to provoke a fight.


stalking basics

  • Make a threat to someone and also repeatedly follow, approach, contact, or watch that person, someone in their family, or someone they have a relationship with,
  • Make a threat to someone and repeatedly try to communicate with that person, a member of their family or someone they have a relationship with, whether or not a conversation ensues.
  • Repeatedly follow, approach, contact, watch, or attempt communication with someone, a member of their family, or someone they have a relationship with in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause someone to duffer serious emotional distress
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again and thank you for your reply. I do know what the law says and as a former prosecutor and defense counsel and I can, without hesitation, tell you that if you continue to contact this person, or engage in any of the behavior that you described from before the warning, you can expect that you could be charged, as I mentioned, probably with stalking more so than harassment. But, in any event, I wouldn't recommend that you test your ex-girlfriend or the legal system to see how far you can push things. This is not new law and engaging in this behavior after being warned, is, in an of itself meant to annoy and harass. There need be no physical or verbal threat.

It is not hard at all, in this context, to tell someone to stop contacting you. That is the basis for the stalking and harassment statutes. Once you are told, that is it. Unless you have a statutory right to contact someone, such as if you were law enforcement carrying out your duties, you must stop. This has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech or libel/slander.

In any event, I can only tell you what the law is and what can happen, since I am not your attorney, and cannot be since we cannot form an attorney-client relationship. You are always free to sit down with a local criminal defense attorney and ask them what you can and cannot do, but I can tell you that they will recommend that you move on.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

can you cite a case I can look at where a man or woman was charged with stalking for offering 10 dozen flowers with nothing other than a note saying from "so and so". And if so, can you put me in touch with a defense attorney in Denver. The whole stalker premise seems to be derived from one party being not willing to "let go" and continually seeks to derive some kind of physical or emotional contact that was present previously. I was once told by my ex that she had a stalker previously when our relationship was on healthier terms. For all I know she has had 4 stalker claims or charges made. If this is a repeated theme in some of her previous relationships she has had, then maybe the way she is treating her men in her life is psychologically abusive or emotionally abusive. I bring this up because I have a couple things I would like to mention which you will probably claim as insubstantial. I was slandered a few times, a couple times in the presence of others, while I treated her very well our entire relationship. I also have reason to believe she has a picture of my genitalia that was taken on her phone without my consent, taken by her. A lot of the stalker claim is contingent upon the fact that one party has said or addressed that a relationship is finished while the other "refuses to accept this admonition" and continues to try to precipitate one. The fact that I am a romantic and still in love matters not, and that because I offer loving gestures I am assuming that somewhere locked away in her heart is a romantic and portion of love that still exists. But if the gestures didn't work previously, then any future gestures come across as creepy and someone who will not let go that the idea of this love is dead.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again and thank you for your additional questions. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you but I was in court. I cannot do legal research for case law for you,and quit honestly, there is not likely to be a reported case that is on point. Not every case that is tried is reported. Only those cases that are appealed and that go to an appeals court, and are not just summary decisions, are going to be reported. So, that means that there would very rarely be a case on point.

I am trying to help you understand what the law is and trying to help you avoid future problems. I won't debate your specific facts or what the law does and doesn't prohibit as that is beyond the scope of the services we provide. If you want to consult with a Denver area criminal defense attorney, you can get a direct referral from the Metropolitan Lawyer Referral Service by going to: http://www.mlrsonline.org/
Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17042
Experience: Licensed Atty, 28 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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