What is Harassment Under the California Code of Civil Procedure?

The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Sec. § 527.6 provides a strict legal definition of “harassment,” which is any unlawful violence, including battery and assault. The severity of the violence depends on the specifics of the crime and whether there was actual or potential great bodily harm.

The definition doesn’t include any violence committed in self-defense. It also excludes violence propagated in “mutual combat,” where one party makes an effort in good faith to stop fighting or communicate a way to end a fight. Harassment charges have hefty penalties, and if you’re facing charges, consult a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense law firm for legal representation.

Criminal harassment in California takes many forms, and a criminal court prosecutor pursues charges to punish the offender for committing a crime. You could face charges for criminal harassment for the following behavior:

Threat of Violence

Harassment also involves any action that poses a significant, credible, and imminent threat of violence. In other words, the behavior would cause any “reasonable person” to fear for their safety or life. Examples of such conduct include issuing criminal threats and stalking, both forms of harassment that can be prosecuted under criminal law.

These forms of violence and threatening behavior need only to frighten, annoy, or adversely affect the victim’s well-being to trigger a civil harassment restraining order against you. In this case, a criminal proceeding need not happen before the victim can obtain the restraining order. It is up to the District Attorney to determine whether to press charges against you.

Domestic Violence

Under California Laws, criminal harassment charges are often closely related to domestic violence charges. Domestic violence is abuse or threats or abuse against:

  • A spouse or registered domestic partner
  • An ex-spouse or legally separated spouse
  • A person you’re dating or used to date
  • A person with whom you live together or used to live together with, but more than just roommates
  • A person with whom you’re closely related, such as a parent, child, sibling, grandfather, or grandmother

Under domestic violence laws, abuse is physically hurting or attempting to harm someone recklessly or intentionally. It also entails making a victim reasonably afraid that they or someone else is about to be seriously injured. Hitting, stalking, threatening, disturbing someone’s peace, or destroying their property is also abuse.

Abuse and domestic violence don’t have to be only physical and can include psychological, emotional, or verbal violence. If you’re facing harassment charges in the form of domestic violence, let an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney defend you against the charges to protect you from facing strict penalties.


Under California Penal Code 646.9, stalking is defined as:

  • Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or willfully and maliciously harassing someone and making a credible threat with the intent to place the victim or their immediate family in reasonable fear of their safety.

The stalking laws describe harassment as willful conduct directed at someone to seriously alarm, annoy, or torment them. Given the definition, a wide range of behavior can be considered harassment.


Harassment and stalking lawyers in Los Angeles explain that stalking can happen in many ways apart from personal contact. For example, repeated phone calls, text messages, or social media communication that threaten or intimidate the victim is cyberstalking. The harassment or threats must reach a point where the victim fears for their safety or that of their family.

Examples of harassment in the form of cyberstalking include constantly sending threatening or harassing messages, offensive images, or posting damaging information about the victim on social media platforms.

Cyberstalking is a wobbler crime with the same penalties as stalking upon conviction. Depending on the case specifics, you could also face domestic violence charges. You could also be required to register as a sex offender, depending on the charges. An aggressive criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles can help you beat the charges to have them dropped or reduced.

Workplace Violence or Harassment

Non-sexual workplace harassment is classified as discrimination, harassment, or bullying. It occurs when an employee is treated worse than others at the workplace because of a “protected characteristic” to the point it creates an abusive working environment. Protected characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Religion
  • Medical condition
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Genetic information
  • Ancestry

Workplace discrimination entails taking drastic employment action against an employee based on these characteristics. Examples include pay cuts, demotions, firing, or shift rescheduling.

Bullying at the workplace happens when an employee is treated poorly because of non-protected characteristics. It can be verbal or physical, creating a hostile work environment for the employee.

Criminal Threats

California Penal Code 422 defines criminal threat as:

  • Willfully threatening to commit a crime that results in significant bodily injury or death to someone, whether the threat was made verbally, in writing, or via electronic communication. If the statement intends to threaten the victim, even without the intention to act, it should be taken as a threat that makes the victim fear.

Criminal threats are wobbler crimes and can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The penalties include up to one year in county jail and a fine. If convicted of a felony, you could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A life sentence would have adverse effects, so let a harassment attorney in Los Angeles defend you.

Skilled Legal Representation Against Harassment Charges in Los Angeles

Harassment in California takes many forms, and the charges have steep penalties upon a conviction. If you’re facing charges for any above behavior that constitutes harassment, don’t go to battle alone. Consult an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles for legal counsel and representation to protect your rights and freedom.

Our stalking and harassment attorney in Los Angeles has a wealth of legal knowledge in criminal defense. We can provide legal support and aggressive protection to fight harassment charges in Los Angeles. Call our Miranda Rights Law Firm at 213-255-5838 to schedule a FREE consultation.