In many instances, a harassment charge can be issued against you strictly upon the representations by your accuser that you engaged in some type of harassing course of conduct. This makes it fairly easy for an individual who has bad motives to go to the police and fabricate a claim.
Often, especially in the case of a citizens complaint, the defendant/accused may be entitled to a probable cause hearing. In order for a complaint to issue, there needs to be a finding of probable cause. Probable cause is not the same standard as beyond a reasonable doubt, it is much lower threshold for the State to meet. And probable cause hearings are not trials. However, what a probable cause hearing does accomplish ( in some cases) is the weeding out of claims without merit and frivolous claims.
Many times, a judge will make a finding of probable cause prior to the issuance of the complaint. However, if the complaint is a citizen complaint, or the complaint issued on the information and belief of a police officer, then a good harassment defense lawyer should absolutely look into the possibility of a probable cause hearing to determine of the case can be dismissed before the whole affair begins.
In yesterday’s case, I was able to achieve that exact result. Following the testimony of the complainant, the Judge found that there was not sufficient probable cause to continue with the complaint and dismissed it prior to trial.