What are the Different Types of Phone Harassment Crimes in North Carolina?

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “My relationship is ending and they are threatening to call the police, how can I help myself?”


Phone harassment is a serious crime in North Carolina. You can be arrested and charged with a crime for making harassing phone calls, which involves any of the following:

  • Making false statements over the phone;
  • Making repeated phone calls with the intent to harass or annoy;
  • Using indecent or profane language over the phone; or
  • Making threats to harm others.

phone-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x225Types of Harassing Phone Calls

Under the North Carolina G.S. § 14-196, you can be charged with Class 2 misdemeanor for making harassing phone calls. The crime carries a penalty of up to 60 days in prison. If you are accused of telephone harassment, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Charlotte.

State law recognizes various types of harassing phone calls that can lead to criminal penalties.

Threatening to Harm Others over the Phone

You can be charged with a crime for using threatening language when communicating on the phone when all of the following elements are met:

  • You are engaged in a telephone conversation or telephone communication (recorder, fax, computer, or any other telephone answering device); and
  • You use words or language to threaten to inflict bodily injury or harm to another person, cause damage to another person’s property, or extort something from another person.

Making Repeated Phone Calls

Telephone harassment can also come in the form of repeated phone calls with the intent to harass another person. In North Carolina, you can be guilty of harassing phone calls if you:

  • Call another person; and
  • The purpose of the phone call is to harass, annoy, threaten, embarrass, abuse, terrorize, or terrify another person.

Failing to Hang Up to Disrupt the Service

It is also a crime to intentionally fail to hang up the phone for the purpose of disrupting service. You can be guilty of the offense when the prosecution can prove that:

  • You made a phone call;
  • You did not hang up or disconnect; and
  • You had the intent to disrupt service.

Making False Statements to Harass

You can be guilty of this offense when you:

  • Make a phone call;
  • Knowingly and willfully make a false statement about the death, injury, illness, indecent or criminal conduct, or disfigurement of the person on the other end of the phone or their family member;
  • Have the intent to terrify, harass, annoy, abuse, threaten, or embarrass that person.

Communicating Threats over the Phone

If you are being accused of communicating threats to another person, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You willfully threatened to inflict bodily injury to the person telephoned or their child, spouse, or another family member or knowingly threatened to cause damage to their property;
  • The threat is communicated orally or in writing;
  • The person who received the threat reasonable believes that the threat would be carried out; and
  • Any reasonable person would believe that the threat can be carried out under the same circumstances.

Harassing phone calls is slightly different from stalking and cyberbullying. If you were accused of harassing someone on the phone, speak with a Charlotte criminal defense attorney. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.






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