In Iowa, the crime of Harassment is defined by Iowa Code section 708.7, which states that a person commits harassment when, with intent to intimidate, annoy, or alarm another person, the person does any of the following:
- Communicates with another by telephone, telegraph, writing, or via electronic communication without legitimate purpose and in a
- manner likely to cause the other person annoyance or harm.
- Places a simulated explosive or simulated incendiary device in or near a building, vehicle, airplane, railroad engine or railroad
- car, or boat occupied by another person.
- Orders merchandise or services in the name of another, or to be delivered to another, without the other person’s knowledge or consent.
- Reports or causes to be reported false information to a law enforcement authority implicating another in some criminal activity, knowing that the information is false, or reports the alleged occurrence of a criminal act, knowing the act did not occur.
- Purposefully and without legitimate purpose, has personal contact with another person, with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or alarm that other person. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “personal contact” means an encounter in which two or more people are in visual or physical proximity to each other. “Personal contact” does not require a physical touching or oral communication, although it may include these types of contacts.
A person commits harassment in the first degree when the person commits harassment in Iowa involving a threat to commit a forcible felony, or commits harassment and has previously been convicted of harassment three or more times under this section or any similar statute during the preceding ten years. Harassment in the first degree is an aggravated misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty is 2 years in prison.
A person commits harassment in the second degree under Iowa law when the person commits harassment involving a threat to commit bodily injury, or commits harassment and has previously been convicted of harassment two times under this section or any similar statute during the preceding ten years. Harassment in the second degree is a serious misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to 1 year upon conviction.
Any other act of harassment is harassment in Iowa in the third degree. Harassment in the third degree is a simple misdemeanor, for which a person can receive a jail sentence of up to 30 days if convicted.
In addition to the possible penalties outlined above, a harassment conviction in Iowa can result in a person being required to register as a sex offender, depending upon the factual circumstances surrounding the conviction. Taken together, it is clear that a harassment charge in Iowa is a serious matter that needs to be properly handled. A person who is accused of harassment in Iowa is wise to exercise their right to remain silent and seek an attorney at once.