Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh are experienced Toronto criminal harassment lawyers. We are based in Toronto, but also regularly represent individuals across Ontario. If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal harassment, you should contact us at (416) 613-0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
What is criminal harassment?
Many activities can constitute criminal harassment. Criminal harassment charges arise when the complainant feels either threatened or intimidated by the accused’s conduct. An example of criminal harassment is calling someone repeatedly and leaving voicemails or hanging up when they pick up the phone. Typically, criminal harassment involves multiple occurrences, but in some cases, a criminal harassment charge can be laid based on only one interaction.
Can I criminally harass my partner?
Yes, criminal harassment can occur against anybody. It is regular to see criminal harassment charges occur after the end of a relationship, particularly in situations when one party is unwilling to accept the relationship is over. You can criminally harass a current partner, a friend, a family member, or even a stranger.
How do I get my criminal harassment charge dropped?
If you are charged with criminal harassment, you may be eligible for diversion. This could be through a formal diversion program such as Elizabeth Fry, or through individual upfront work. Completing such work could lead to the withdrawal of charges or a withdrawal after you enter into a peace bond agreement. These options will typically be offered when you have no criminal history (or a limited history), the facts of the case involve low level of threatening conduct, or there are other issues at play such as addiction, mental health, or other relevant circumstances.
If the Crown is unwilling to offer you diversion, you can schedule a trial. One of the most common defences is that the complainant had no fear, or their fear was not reasonable in the circumstances. You can also argue that you were unaware that your behaviour was causing or could cause the complainant fear. There are further defences such as identity, and the use of the Charter (such as a section 11(b) application – you have the right to a trial within a reasonable time). A successful defence can lead to your acquittal, and you maintaining no criminal record.
What should I do if I am charged with criminal harassment?
If you are facing a criminal harassment charge, you should contact a criminal defence lawyer. They will explain the court process to you, discuss possible defences, and ensure that the best possible defence is built. An experienced criminal lawyer could be the difference between a criminal record and an acquittal.