Engaging in disorderly or harassing contact is not only inappropriate, but it may be a crime in Massachusetts. In fact, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 53, it is illegal to annoy or accost a person of the opposite sex. If you are facing charges for this crime, our skilled criminal defense attorney can help you to understand the charges, what the prosecution needs to prove to secure a conviction, the penalties you’re facing, and what the next steps to take are. Call today to learn more.
What Is an Accosting or Annoying Persons of the Opposite Sex Crime in Massachusetts?
Under the statute cited above, it is a crime to accost or annoy a person of the opposite sex in Massachusetts. This crime is defined by the criteria that the prosecution must establish—mainly, that the defendant engaged in disorderly conduct and that the disorderly conduct was committed against a victim who is of the opposite sex of the defendant.
What Must Be Proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant engaged in disorderly acts or language knowingly;
- A reasonable person would find the disorderly acts to be offensive;
- The disorderly acts or language were directed against an alleged victim and that this direction was intentional;
- The alleged victim was aware of the acts or language; and
- The alleged victim was a member of the opposite sex.
As mentioned above, most of the prosecution’s case will rest on being able to prove that the defendant engaged in “disorderly acts of language.” Examples of disorderly acts include acts that include violence, fighting, invasion of another’s personal privacy, are threatening, or that create dangerous or hazardous conditions.
Legal Actions to Take When Charged with the Crime
If you are convicted of annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, you could face jail time of up to six months, a fine of $200, or both. Sometimes, this charge is one that is layered onto another charge, such as assault, which means the penalties will be more serious if conviction occurs. To avoid the most severe penalties, working with a lawyer is recommended.
The first thing that you should do when charged with a crime is to call an attorney. Your attorney will learn as much as they can about your case and walk you through your legal options. Pleading guilty and striking a plea bargain may be advised in some cases; in others, it may be more strategic to plead not guilty and push back against the prosecution’s arguments.
Reach Out to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our defense attorney is here to help you by designing a case strategy that makes sense. To learn more, reach out online or by phone at (978) 397-0011 today. We have years of experience and a track record of success.