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Criminal Harassment in Iowa

The criminal offense of harassment focuses on conduct intended to intimidate, annoy or alarm another person. It can be charged in the first degree, second degree, or third degree, depending on the seriousness of the conduct. Many accusations of harassment involve domestic violence, although no domestic relationship is required. 

After you have been accused of harassment, it is vital to contact a violent crimes lawyer in Polk County immediately. You need an attorney to represent you at every stage of the case. Never speak to a Law Enforcement Officer about an allegation of stalking or harassment until after you have contacted an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Criminal Harassment Defense Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa

If you have been charged with harassment or related charges of stalking or cyberstalking in the greater Des Moines-Newton-Pella area then call us at (515) 279-9700.

Our attorneys represent clients throughout the State of Iowa for felony harassment charges including in Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County and Guthrie County.

With offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, call our attorneys to discuss your case today. Call (515) 279-9700.


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Harassment in the Third Degree

The criminal offense of Harassment In the Third Degree is found at Iowa Code section 708.7(1) and (4). The statutory elements include proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the following:

  1. The defendant did one of the following acts:
    • communicated with the other person by telephone, by telegraph, in writing, without a legitimate purpose, in a manner likely to cause him or her annoyance or harm;
    • placed a simulated explosive, incendiary device in or near a building, vehicle, airplane, railroad engine or car or boat occupied by another person;
    • ordered merchandise or services in the name of the person, or to be delivered to the person without his or her consent or knowledge;
    • reported or caused to be reported to a law enforcement authority false information implicating the person in some criminal activity, knowing the information was false; or
    • reported the alleged occurrence of a criminal act to a law enforcement authority, knowing the act did not occur.
  2. The defendant did so with the specific intent to intimidate, annoy or alarm the other person.

The standard jury instruction for Iowa’s Harassment In The Third Degree statute is found at 810.3. Certain enhanced penalties for harassment in the third degree can apply if the defendant is charged as a previous offender under Chapter 2200 Habitual Criminal.


Harassment in the Second Degree

Iowa Code section 708.7(1) and (3) sets out the requirements for Harassment in the Second Degree which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of an additional element that the defendant communicated a threat to commit bodily injury.


Harassment In The First Degree

Iowa Code section 708.7(1) and (2) sets out the requirements for Harassment in the First Degree which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of an additional element that the defendant communicated a threat to commit a specific crime classified as a forcible felony.


Attorney for Harassment Charges in Polk County

If you are charged with harassment in Des Moines, Iowa then contact the criminal defense lawyers at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. We provide an aggressive defense against these serious charges throughout the State of Iowa including Dallas County, Polk County, Warren County, Madison County and Guthrie County.

With offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, call our attorneys to discuss your case today. We also represent clients on related charges for domestic violence, assault, stalking and cyberstalking.


This article was last updated on Friday, July 7, 2017.

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