Iowa State Student Charged with First Degree Harassment
Story County authorities have charged an Iowa State student with first degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor, after the student made threatening comments online and one student said she felt unsafe. Aggravated misdemeanors in Iowa are punishable be a fine of up to $6,250 and up to 2 years in prison.
Harassment is one of a small number of specific intent crimes in Iowa. Specific intent crimes differ from general intent crimes in that they require the State to prove that not only did a defendant commit a certain act, but that the defendant intended the act to have a certain result. In the context of harassment in Iowa, that means a defendant must commit an act with the intent to “intimidate, annoy, or alarm another person.” This results in an ultimately more difficult case to make for prosecuting authorities.
Mental health treatment has been a topic of increased discussion in recent months with the onset of more frequent school shootings. Iowa authorities have proposed a number of new initiatives to deal with the state’s mental health crisis. Mental health problems may have a significant effect on the outcome of criminal cases regarding mentally ill defendants. Specifically, mental issues may negate the intent element of specific intent crimes.
If you have been charged with a crime in Iowa, or you are a criminal defendant with mental health issues, ensure that your rights are being protected. The experienced attorneys at Stowers and Sarcone can help you navigate the minefield of criminal charges and mental health treatment in Iowa. Call us today at 515.224.7446.