COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Harassing or Obscene Telephone Calls

Massachusetts takes seriously the crimes that annoy, harass and accost other individuals. Not only is criminal harassment a serious offense, but the Commonwealth also makes the harassment by telephone or electronic communication a separate offense. Section 14A of Chapter 269 of M. G. L. dictates that whoever telephones another person or contacts another person by electronic communication, or causes a person to be telephoned or contacted by electronic communication, repeatedly, for the sole purpose of harassing, annoying or molesting the person or the person’s family, whether or not conversation ensues, or whoever telephones or contacts a person repeatedly by electronic communication and uses indecent or obscene language to the person, shall be punishable under the law. This crime is separated into two definitive acts, either (1) the defendant made harassing telephone calls or electronic communications with the alleged victim, or (2) the defendant made repeated and obscene telephone calls or electronic communications with the alleged victim. A conviction of either part of this offense shall result in the following penalties:

  • A fine of not more than $500, or
  • Imprisonment for not more than 3 months, or
  • Both such fine and imprisonment.

For the purposes of this section, electronic communication shall be taken to include any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic, or photo-optical system.

In order for the prosecution to convict a defendant for making harassing telephone calls or electronic communications, they must be able to prove the following two elements of the crime:

  1. The defendant either made telephone calls to, caused telephone calls to be made to, contacted by electronic communication, or caused contact by electronic communication to the alleged victim repeatedly (three of more times); and
  2. The defendants sole purpose in making or having telephone calls be made, or contacting or causing electronic communication to be made was either to harass, annoy, or molest the alleged victim or his or her family.

For purposes of this crime, the Commonwealth is not required to show that the defendant has an actual conversation or made contact with the alleged victim. They must only show that the defendant made the telephone calls, had the telephone calls made, made the contacts by electronic communication, or had the contacts made by electronic communication.

Under Section 14A of Ch. 269, a defendant may also be charged with making repeated and obscene telephone calls or electronic communications with the alleged victim if that person uses indecent or obscene language. In order for the prosecution to secure a guilty conviction for this offense, they must be able to prove the following two elements of the crime:

  1. The defendant made telephone calls to or contacted by electronic communications with the alleged victim repeatedly (three or more times); and
  2. In making those calls or electronic communications, the defendant used indecent and obscene language.

For the purposes of this crime, it is not necessary that the defendant specifically knew or believed that his or her language was legally indecent or obscene. It is only necessary that such language was in fact indecent and obscene, and that the defendant knew the general character of what he or she was saying.

Determined Boston Area Harassment Attorney

No one deserves to experience the harmful effects of harassment. You should be free to live and work in a healthy and safe environment. If you feel you are experiencing harassment by telephone or electronic communication, get help. On the other hand, if you feel that the service of a restraining order, abuse prevention order, or criminal charge is unjust or inaccurate, please do not hesitate to contact us. Your rights can be asserted, but you must take the steps necessary to protect them. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has 18 years of experienced in fighting for and protecting the rights of people that have been accused of Massachusetts harassment crimes. For a free and confidential assessment of you case, please call (617) 367-0450 or completing the contact form on our website.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
★★★★★
"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
★★★★★
"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User