In order to be convicted of criminal harassment, the Crown Prosecutor will need to prove:

  • The complainant felt harassed
  • You knew your conduct would make the complainant feel harassed
  • Your conduct caused the complainant fear for their safety and that their fear was reasonable in the circumstances

Some forms of prohibited conduct include:

  • Following/stalking the complainant
  • Repeatedly communicating with the complainant
  • Watching them where they work or live
  • Engaging in threatening behaviour directed at the complainant or members of their family

Related Criminal Harassment Charges

Criminal harassment is considered to be a serious offence when combined with other commonly related charges:

  • Uttering threats
  • Assault
  • Domestic assault
  • Mischief (damaging or destroying property with no intent to steal it)

Punishment for Criminal Harassment

  • Imprisonment of up to 10 years for indictable matters
  • Imprisonment up to two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine for summary conviction matters

A summary conviction, or a summary offence, is resolved without a jury or an indictment. It’s considered a “less serious” offence and is punished according to a different set of rules and lower sentencing guidelines.

I’ve Been Charged with Criminal Harassment. What Should I do?

DDSG Criminal Law has a number of expert lawyers with years of experience in this area of the law. Contact us today to learn more. Contact us right away if you have been charged with criminal harassment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Criminal Harassment Charges in Alberta

Like all criminal defences, the best ones depend on the circumstances and the evidence in your case. One common defence tactic includes arguing that the complainant’s fear was not reasonable in the circumstances.

This involves proving that, based on the nature and history of your relationship, there is no basis on which they can reasonably claim that your behaviour constituted harassment.

To prove criminal harassment, the Crown Prosecution must establish that the complainant, through your actions, was feeling harassed (i.e. tormented, worried, troubled, fearful for their safety, etc.).

In many cases, the police will issue an official warning upon the first complaint to warn you that the other person is feeling harassed. Continuing contact with that person will lead to a charge of criminal harassment and the police-issued warning will be used as evidence in court.

It’s possible to have your criminal harassment charges dropped by agreeing to sign a peace bond. This requires you to stay away from the complainant and cease contact with them for a period of time, likely a year.

If you are offered the opportunity to sign a peace bond in lieu of charges, the charges are dropped and you avoid a conviction and a criminal record.

Being granted this opportunity depends upon whether the Crown Prosecution believes it to be appropriate in the situation. This is why it’s important to contact a criminal defence lawyer if you are facing criminal harassment charges.

To determine if a complainant’s fear is reasonable, the court will first inquire into whether a reasonable person in the same circumstances as the complainant would fear for their safety or the safety of someone known to them.

They will also take into consideration the complainant’s history and other circumstances surrounding the prior relationship between them and you.

Lawyers with a practice interest in Criminal Harassment

Mona T. Duckett, Q.C.

Mona T. Duckett, K.C.

Senior Partner

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Lauren L. Garcia

Lauren L. Garcia

Senior Partner

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Graham Johnson

Graham Johnson

Senior Partner

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Kathryn A. Quinlan

Kathryn A. Quinlan

Senior Partner

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Alexandra K. Seaman

Alexandra K. Seaman

Senior Partner

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Lance McClean

Lance McClean

Managing Partner

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Dushan Coulson

Dushan Coulson

Associate Lawyer

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Jordan McDermott

Jordan McDermott

Associate Lawyer

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Sarah Kondor

Student

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Do you have questions about criminal harassment?