C.R.S § 18-9-111, Colorado’s “Catch all” Harassment Law

Also known as Kiana Arellano’s law, Colorado’s current criminal harassment statute was added to the books after the Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 1072 in 2015. While the story of Kiana Arellano, a Highlands Ranch teen who was the victim of cyberbullying and ended up attempting suicide is a very compelling one, more and more often it seems we are seeing this law used by law enforcement as a sort of “catch all” statute that allows them to charge an individual with a crime when none of the other available charges fit the factual situation.

When police are called to the scene of a domestic altercation between spouses or other people who are romantically involved, often times finding out exactly what happened and who may have acted in the wrong, if anyone did, can be a difficult task for law enforcement. It may have been a worried neighbor or a spiteful family member who contacted law enforcement, and when the police show up it is often a he said/she said situation, one in which the full truth may never come out.

When law enforcement arrives, they will sometimes get both sides of the story, and it becomes very difficult for police officers to figure out exactly what happened when both parties involved are blaming the other and there are no marks from any physical abuse. This is where C.R.S. § 18-9-111 may come into play. While officers are allowed a certain amount of discretion in handling these situations, they sometimes find it impossible to leave without arresting someone. The arrested party usually ends up charged with a crime, and oftentimes that charge is an alleged violation of C.R.S. § 18-9-111, the harassment statute.

A small argument can get the ball rolling and a situation can quickly escalate into a person going to jail and getting charged with a violation of the harassment code. Almost all types of harassment, whether physical, verbal, or electronic, fall under this code when the alleged perpetrator has an intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person. If you have been charged with harassment in the greater Denver Metro area, you may feel as though you did very little or nothing wrong, and don’t understand how or why you ended up charged with a crime. If you have a question about such a charge you or someone you know has received, call us today for a free consultation.

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