Annoying and Accosting Persons of the Opposite Sex

Abuse related crimes and offenses against a person are prosecuted aggressively to the utmost extent in Massachusetts in order to protect citizens from abuse. In Massachusetts, anyone who accosts or annoys another person of the opposite sex with offensive and disorderly acts or languages is punishable under Section 53 of Chapter 272 of our General Laws. A conviction for this offense shall be punishable by the following:
  • Imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for no more than 6 months, or
  • A fine of not more than $200, or
  • Both fine and imprisonment.

In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must be able to prove five elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. The defendant knowingly engaged in disorderly acts or language,
  2. A reasonable person would consider the disorderly acts or language as offensive,
  3. The defendant intended to direct those acts or language towards the alleged victim,
  4. The alleged victim was aware of the defendant’s offensive and disorderly acts or language; and
  5. The alleged victim was a person of the opposite sex.
The Commonwealth must be able to prove that the conduct was both offensive and disorderly. Commonwealth v. Lombard. In order to prove the first element, the Commonwealth must be able to prove that the defendant either committed two or more disorderly acts, or that disorderly language was used. If the offense involved two disorderly acts, each of those two disorderly acts must be distinct, but may be part of a single incident or event. An act or language is considered disorderly if it involves either (1) fighting or violent or tumultuous behavior; (2) the creation of a hazardous condition; (3) the creation of a physically offensive condition that amounts to an invasion of person privacy; or (4) the act or language is threatening. An act is considered to be threatening, if there is an explicit threat, a strong implication that harm may come to the alleged victim, or a comment or act coupled with an aggressive move toward the alleged victim. In the event that sexually explicit language was involved, the language may be considered as inherently threatening when it is directed at particular individuals in settings which such communications are inappropriate and likely to cause severe distress to an individual.

Aggressive Boston, Massachusetts Abuse Defense Attorney
Courts view any crime against the person very seriously in Massachusetts; therefore it is crucial that you obtain the best legal counsel when facing an Annoying and Accosting Persons of the Opposite Sex charge. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has 18 years of successful experience defending clients facing charges of abuse related crimes. Attorney Murphy is a highly resourceful and intelligent Boston-area defense attorney who has built a successful and reputable career vigorously defending his clients. For a free and confidential assessment of you case, please call 617-367-0450 or completing the contact form on our website.

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