In order to prove a defendant guilty of annoying or accosting a person, the Commonwealth must prove the following four elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt (ALL):
Moreover, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
Similar but separate offenses include (ALL):
To be disorderly, the defendant’s act or acts or language must involve one of the following:
Moreover, a threat can take many forms. It can be a comment or an act that would make a reasonable person fearful, not just uncomfortable. The Commonwealth does not need to prove that the defendant intended a threat be immediately followed by actual violence or physical force.
Sexually explicit language is inherently threatening when directed at particular individuals.
The terminology true threat has been adopted to help distinguish between words that literally threaten but have an expressive purpose.
The courts addressed the concept of true threat in Commonwealth v. Ramirez (2007). The court ruled that a defendant staring at the complainant at a swimming pool and singing was insufficient to infer that he intended harm.
YES, a single act is sufficient.
Also, the original statute forbidding annoying and accosting penalized “persons with an offensive and disorderly act or language accost[ing] or annoy[ing] persons of the opposite sex.”
In 1983, the word “act” became “acts”. The change had no impact on the statute’s meaning. Proof of a single disorderly and offensive act is sufficient to continue prosecuting.
NO, there is no longer a requirement that the victim be of the opposite sex as the defendant.
NO, the invasion of privacy does not necessarily need to be “extreme”.
NO, if an act was physically offensive, it does NOT also need to be threatening, and vice versa.
Commonwealth v. Chou (2001) ruled that the distribution of derogatory flyers concerning a victim were not physically offense but were indeed threatening.
Moreover, the offensive acts are acts that cause displeasure, anger, or resentment.
Additionally, conduct that is physical is when it is of or relating to the body. Physical contact with a victim’s person is NOT necessary to make a person’s actions physically offensive.
NO, the offense of annoying and accosting persons can be public OR private.
YES, offensive conduct does need to have sexual context.
Also remember that offensive acts are those that cause displeasure, anger, or resentment.
The “offensive acts” component of the statute forbidding annoying and accosting behavior requires proof of sexual conduct.
Lastly, “implicit sexual conduct or language” means conduct or language with sexual connotations.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH ANNOYING AND ACCOSTING PERSONS, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.
Source: Instruction 6.600