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Criminal charges for harassment or making threats typically come as a shock to the person facing them. They don’t see how stating something might get you in trouble with the law. A conviction on these charges carries serious consequences, including potential jail time.

Fedorowicz Law, one of Canada’s largest and most seasoned criminal law firms, has the resources and strength to defend clients who have been accused of harassment or threats.

Reach out to us for free Toronto legal consultation, and we can assist you.


The media has fostered a culture in which people automatically associate the term “stalking” with violent or sexually abusive intent. Often the behaviour that leads to the charge falls short of the actual criminal definition. Sometimes they say it’s just “teenage angst,” or other times, it’s a complainant exaggerating what happened.

Not everyone accused of criminal harassment is a “stalker,” After years of practicing criminal law, we at Fedorowicz Law are well aware of that.  The criminal harassment statute defines stalking as a kind of harassment. However, stalking itself is not a crime immediately in and of itself under the Criminal Code. So, to help you figure out, we are here, experienced lawyers for harassment and stalking. 

Information On Criminal Harassment

When someone repeatedly does something over time that makes you fear for your safety or the safety of someone you know, they are engaging in criminal harassment.

It is unnecessary for someone to suffer actual harm for stalking to be considered illegal. Even if your stalker’s actions weren’t intended to frighten you, the law would protect you if they did. This behaviour could be an early indicator of impending aggressive behaviour.

The stigma associated with a criminal harassment conviction might make it difficult to find gainful employment or even enter the country. If you are found guilty of criminal harassment, you will be prohibited from possessing firearms for ten years. Canadian prosecutors commonly request the defendants’ DNA for inclusion in the country’s DNA database.

The consequences of a conviction are serious; those accused of a crime should get advice from a qualified criminal defence attorney to identify their best line of action.

The Act Of Criminal Harassment

By law, the following conduct constitutes criminal harassment (sometimes known as “stalking” ):

  • Intentionally sticking close to a complainant or someone they know
  • Keeping in touch with the complaint or someone who knows them
  • Keeping a close eye on, or “besetting,” a specific location where the complainant is expected to be
  • Using intimidating or threatening behaviour toward the complaint or a known associate

The accused must know or be reckless as to whether the complainant is being harassed by one or more of the preceding categories of behaviour to be found guilty of criminal harassment. In addition, the complainant must have had a reasonable basis for fearing for their own or a third party’s safety due to the behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is criminal harassment? What are the grounds for a harassment charge?

Allegations of stalking-like behaviour are often made in cases of criminal harassment. Online behaviour is often at the center of criminal harassment claims in the digital age. 

Some things that are against the law are listed in the Criminal Code. These include repeatedly following or talking to another person, staking out or watching a place where the person happens to be, or doing something threatening to the person or family member. The other person must also have a good reason to fear for their safety or the safety of someone they know.

For the police to charge someone with criminal harassment, they need information or statements from witnesses that show the alleged victim had a good reason to fear for their safety because of the illegal behaviour.

Suppose a complainant says that the illegal behaviour happened and that the alleged victim has a good reason to fear for their safety or the safety of someone they know. In that case, the officer will have a good reason to believe it happened. To bring charges against someone, the officer only needs to have reasonable grounds.

To prove someone guilty, you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they did what they are accused of doing and that they meant to do it.

2. How do you prove criminal harassment?

The prosecution has to prove that the person who filed the complaint was harassed or felt harassed because of the illegal act. When someone is “harassed,” they think tormented, troubled, constantly worried, plagued, bedevilled, and bugged. 

Harassment can be caused by just repeating something. Even one thing can be enough to count as harassment. The prosecution will also have to show that the complainant had a good reason to fear for their safety and that the accused knew or didn’t care if their actions were harassing.

Before charging someone with a crime, the police often give them an official warning. Most of the time, the warning will say that the person feels like they are being harassed and does not want to talk to them again. 

If the accused person keeps getting in touch, they will likely be charged with criminal harassment. The warning from the police will then be used in court as proof that the accused knew their contact with the person after the warning was harassing.

3. How long do you have to go to jail for criminal harassment?

Criminal harassment carries a possible sentence range that is largely determined by the nature and severity of the infringing conduct and the offender’s prior record. A criminal harassment charge that leads to an indictment carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Unless the harassment is particularly severe, most people who are found guilty of criminal harassment but have no criminal record will not be sentenced to jail time. Sentencing guidelines place substantial weight on aggravating and mitigating circumstances, respectively.

Because a criminal record for criminal harassment can affect a person’s ability to get a job and travel, they must get a strong defence in these cases.

4. How can you fight harassment charges?

Legal counsel with experience in such matters can investigate potential justifications for a harassment claim. Standard lines of defence involve casting doubt on the prosecutor’s ability to prove essential elements of the crime, like the complainant’s identity, the accused’s intent, or the victim’s reasonable fear of the accused. Simply hire lawyers of harassment or you can even hire a lawyer for stalking cases to get rid of mental threats.

A skilled attorney should cross-examine the complainant’s motivation for lying.

We at Fedorowicz Law are here to assist you. Schedule a free consultation or call us at 249-266-4222, and we can discuss your case.

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Richard Fedorowicz is a Criminal Lawyer Serving Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, Hamilton, and Oshawa