Harassing Phone Calls in North Carolina

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Harassing phone calls involves using profane, indecent, or threatening language to any person over telephone; annoying or harassing by repeated telephoning, or making false statements over the telephone. This crime is governed by N.C.G.S. 14-196. Harassing phone calls is a Class 2 misdemeanor that carries a maximum possible penalty of 60 days imprisonment.

We will break down specific activities that are prohibited under this statute. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

Using threatening language on the telephone

A person guilty of this offense

  1. in a telephonic communication
    1. The term telephonic communications includes communications made or received by way of a telephone answering machine or recorder, fax, or computer.
  2. uses words or language
  3. :
    1. threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person,
    2. threatening physical injury to another’s property, or
    3. for the purpose of extorting something of value from another.

This crime is punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Repeated telephone calls to harass, etc.

A person guilty of this offense

  1. telephones another repeatedly
  2. for the purpose of
    1. abusing,
    2. annoying,
    3. threatening,
    4. terrifying,
    5. embarrassing, or
    6. harassing
      1. harassment is knowing conduct directed at a specific person that torments, terrorizes, or terrifies that person and serves no legitimate purpose.

This crime is punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Failing to hang up for the purpose of disrupting service

A person guilty of this offense

  1. makes a telephone call and
  2. fails to hang up or disengage the connection
  3. with the intent to disrupt the service of another.

This crime is punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Making false statements by telephone to harass, etc.

A person guilty of this offense

  1. telephones another and
  2. knowingly makes a false statement
  3. concerning
    1. death,
    2. injury,
    3. illness,
    4. disfigurement
    5. indecent conduct, or
    6. criminal conduct
  4. of
    1. of the person telephoned or
    2. of any member of the person’s family or household
  5. with the intent to
    1. abuse,
    2. annoy,
    3. threaten,
    4. terrify,
    5. harass, or
    6. embarrass

This crime is punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor. An example would be calling a person and telling them that a family member has died.

Note that harassing phone calls is different from stalking, cyberstalking, or cyberbullying. If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina or South Carolina and are in need of a criminal defense lawyer, contact us to discuss your options.


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