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  • Matthew W. Peterson

What is Criminal Harassment in Massachusetts?

Updated: Mar 13



Criminal harassment in Massachusetts can be a serious offense in Massachusetts and can carry jail time. The law is designed to protect people who are being stalked, even if the actions do not fall under the specific definition of stalking in Massachusetts law.

What Must Be Proven for Criminal Harassment?

To prove a case of criminal harassment, the Commonwealth must show the following elements:

  1. You engaged in a knowing pattern of conduct on at least three separate occasions;

  2. You intended to target a specific person with the harassing conduct on each occasion;

  3. The conduct seriously alarmed the victim;

  4. The conduct would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress;

  5. You committed the conduct willfully and maliciously.

The acts can be electronic as well.

What is the Potential Punishment for Criminal Harassment in Massachusetts?

Criminal harassment is a misdemeanor on first offense that can be punished by up to two-and-a-half years in the House of Corrections. If you have a prior conviction for criminal harassment or stalking, the second charge is a concurrent felony that can be either punished by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or ten years in prison if indicted.

If you've been charged with criminal harassment, you need to hire an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact me today, and let's get started on your defense.


My office is located in Boston, Massachusetts, but I handle criminal cases, including larceny, in all Massachusetts courts. Contact me at 617-356-8217.

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