2011 Connecticut Code
Title 53a Penal Code
Chapter 952 Penal Code: Offenses
Sec. 53a-183. Harassment in the second degree: Class C misdemeanor.

      Sec. 53a-183. Harassment in the second degree: Class C misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when: (1) By telephone, he addresses another in or uses indecent or obscene language; or (2) with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he communicates with a person by telegraph or mail, by electronically transmitting a facsimile through connection with a telephone network, by computer network, as defined in section 53a-250, or by any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or (3) with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.

      (b) For purposes of this section such offense may be deemed to have been committed either at the place where the telephone call was made, or at the place where it was received.

      (c) The court may order any person convicted under this section to be examined by one or more psychiatrists.

      (d) Harassment in the second degree is a class C misdemeanor.

      (1969, P.A. 828, S. 185; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 44; P.A. 89-103, S. 2; P.A. 90-282, S. 2; P.A. 95-143, S. 2.)

      History: 1971 act substituted "telegraph" for "telephone" in Subsec. (a)(2); P.A. 89-103 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to include communicating by electronically transmitting a facsimile through connection with a telephone network; P.A. 90-282 changed name of offense to harassment in the second degree; P.A. 95-143 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to include communication by computer network.

      Cited. 204 C. 4. Cited. 209 C. 52.

      Cited. 4 CA 520. Cited. 5 CA 79. Cited. 8 CA 598. Cited. 43 CA 527. Cited. 44 CA 84. Section applies to communications made by means of a cellular telephone. 117 CA 493.

      Cited. 39 CS 428. Cited. 43 CS 46. Internet service provider has federal immunity from tort liability for damages related to e-mail sent via provider's service. 46 CS 406.

      Subsec. (a):

      Subdiv. (3) cited. 223 C. 731.

      Subdiv. (3): Harassment and threatening are separate and distinct crimes and this case harassment is not a lesser included offense of threatening. 1 CA 647. Subdiv. (3) cited. 25 CA 503. Subdiv. (2): Section does not require state to prove defendant engaged in a direct communication with the person whom he intended to harass. 40 CA 544. Subdiv. (3) cited. 41 CA 847; 43 CA 527. Subdiv. (3): Is not unconstitutionally vague either on its face or as applied to defendant's conduct. 46 CA 661. Subdiv. (2): Not unconstitutionally overbroad or vague. 49 CA 617. Subdiv. (3): Statute is not unconstitutionally overbroad; statute prohibits purposeful telephone harassment and does not involve first amendment concerns since it proscribes conduct and not the content of calls. 55 CA 475. Subdiv. (3): Section is not unconstitutionally vague as applied to defendant's conduct. Id. Criminal violation of a protective order pursuant to Sec. 53a-110b and harassment in the second degree pursuant to Subdiv. (3) constitute separate offenses for double jeopardy purposes. 61 CA 118. Defendant who made five phone calls to victim was not placed in double jeopardy for multiple convictions of harassment under section because fact that victim listened to the messages consecutively did not transform defendant's separate offenses into one act or one offense and the phrase "a telephone call" coupled with the phrase "likely to cause annoyance" shows legislative intent to punish each call made with the requisite intent. 93 CA 582. A person's speech during a telephone call may be evidence of the person's intent in physically making the telephone call, but cannot be basis for conviction under this section without implicating the person's freedom of speech rights; it is the physical act of placing the call and causing a ring at the receiving end that constitutes the actus reus under Subdiv. (3). 120 CA 330.

      Subdiv. (3): Freedom of speech subject to reasonable regulation of place and manner of exercise. Not necessary to limit application of statute to "fighting words". The prohibition is against purposeful harassment by means of device readily susceptible of abuse; trespasser upon our privacy. 34 CS 689.

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