Your home is the place where you can relax in peace, your Personal Sanctuary. However, if you have a neighbor who constantly harasses you or someone in your family, you need to take the appropriate actions. You should never have to listen to someone yell at you, make threats and disturb your peace.
The law defines harassment as communication deemed derogatory or offensive, threats of assault or violence, engagement in offensive physical touching, and repeated acts of intentional alarming or annoying behavior. Even playing loud music or pestering a dog in a backyard can constitute harassment.
The main concern with neighbor harassment is that if it is not rectified promptly, the situation can quickly spiral out of control. Most situations, after numerous attempts of talking to your neighbor amicably have failed, may require you to get the police involved and hire an attorney.
Hearing your neighbor say things that you find insensitive or thoughtless does not automatically equate to harassment. Instead, harassment entails repeated and intentional acts. While a law enforcement officer will try to calm the situation down, unless your neighbor committed a crime, you will have to sue the person in court as a civil matter.
For a successful lawsuit, you need evidence such as notes, videos, witnesses, and police reports. In court, the judge wants to know about the relationship between you and your neighbor. You will both be questioned about age, gender, sexual orientation, and occupation. This way, the judge can determine if the specific communication or an intentional act rises to the level of criminal or civil harassment.
Depending on your situation, a judge may grant you a temporary or permanent restraining order or a court-ordered injunction. In both scenarios, your neighbor must avoid you and stay away. A restraining order or injunction may include other members of your family who were also victims of harassment.
After a judge grants an injunction or restraining order, if your neighbor violates the terms, they could get arrested and jailed. Depending on the severity of the violation or the number of occurrences, your neighbor might get charged with a felony, which results in stiffer penalties. Often, a harassing neighbor gets charged with disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor. However, that could be just enough to get your neighbor to stop the unwanted behavior.
If your neighbor has any prior misdemeanor or felony convictions or continues to act in a threatening or harassing manner, the court could change its orders, having your neighbor arrested for a more serious crime. Living next door to a person like this is not just annoying but frightening, especially when things escalate. By hiring a qualified attorney, defenses like freedom of speech will not hold up in the court system.
Most neighbor harassment cases are minor and can sometimes be settled between the two parties. However, if you have done everything you can without a resolution, contacting law enforcement and hiring an attorney maybe your best recourse. With an attorney, you can be assured you are using the full extent of the law to rectify your situation and not have to risk putting yourself into harm’s way if the situation escalates.
At Solution Law APC, we have successfully assisted many clients reclaim their peace from harassing neighbors.
If you are being harassed by your neighbor and would like it to stop, contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION.
SOLUTION LAW APC