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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102374
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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What is the legal definition of "harassment"?

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What is the legal definition of "harassment"?
Hello friend. Thank you for requesting me.

There is no "one" definition. It depends on the context and what you wish to achieve.

Restraining Order
If you wish to request a stand-alone restraining order, it can be based on various things, of which all are considered "harassment." See here. This is generally for regular trial court.

The Justice of the Peace Court also has a peace order available as an option which is very close to the above.

Within a Lawsuit
Within a lawsuit, either party may request a temporary order for an injunction for the other party for really - anything. In fact, the civil court (this includes family, as in your case) has the right to order an injunction based on basically anything within an existing suit, thus allowing the Judge a lot more discretion.

Criminally, harassment is defined under Texas Penal Code, Section 42.07, and can be seen below:

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:
(1) initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
(2) threatens, by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of his family or household, or his property;
(3) conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;
(4) causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;
(5) makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
(6) knowingly permits a telephone under the person's control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or
(7) sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
(b) In this section:
(1) "Electronic communication" means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:
(A) a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and
(B) a communication made to a pager.
(2) "Family" and "household" have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.
(3) "Obscene" means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

So it all depends in what venue you mean, and, what you are trying to achieve.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My estranged's boyfriend said he was going to slap me with a harassment charge because my daughter asked me to come to the car and get another hug. I stopped one parking slot away to not cause any issues. So I was wondering what the legal definition was in order to make sure I am not doing any of the items which could be construed as harassment.


Nothing about this sounds like it would warrant a harassment charge/complaint/order. I do believe that at this point, that is just "puff." It holds no real water.
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