Criminal Law

Threatening or Harassing Communications, Stalking, and Domestic Violence - Offenses Against the Person

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§2A6.1GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005

governmental, or business functions or services; or (B) a substantial expenditure of funds to clean up, decontaminate, or otherwise respond to the offense, increase by 4 levels.

(5) If (A) subsection (a)(2) and subdivisions (1), (2), (3), and (4) do not apply, and (B) the offense involved a single instance evidencing little or no deliberation, decrease by 4 levels.


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 32(c), 35(b), 871, 876, 877, 878(a), 879, 1993(a)(7), (8), 2332b(a)(2); 47 U.S.C. § 223(a)(1)(C)-(E); 49 U.S.C. § 46507. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Scope of Conduct to Be Considered.— In determining whether subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) apply, the court shall consider both conduct that occurred prior to the offense and conduct that occurred during the offense; however, conduct that occurred prior to the offense must be substantially and directly connected to the offense, under the facts of the case taken as a whole. For example, if the defendant engaged in several acts of mailing threatening letters to the same victim over a period of years (including acts that occurred prior to the offense), then for purposes of determining whether subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) apply, the court shall consider only those prior acts of threatening the victim that have a substantial and direct connection to the offense.

2. Grouping.—For purposes of Chapter Three, Part D (Multiple Counts), multiple counts involving making a threatening or harassing communication to the same victim are grouped together under §3D1.2 (Groups of Closely Related Counts). Multiple counts involving different victims are not to be grouped under §3D1.2.

3. Departure Provisions.—

(A) In General.—The Commission recognizes that offenses covered by this guideline may include a particularly wide range of conduct and that it is not possible to include all of the potentially relevant circumstances in the offense level. Factors not incorporated in the guideline may be considered by the court in determining whether a departure from the guidelines is warranted. See Chapter Five, Part K (Departures).

(B) Multiple Threats or Victims.—If the offense involved substantially more than two threatening communications to the same victim or a prolonged period of making

harassing communications to the same victim, or if the offense involved multiple victims, an upward departure may be warranted.

Background: These statutes cover a wide range of conduct, the seriousness of which depends upon the defendant’s intent and the likelihood that the defendant would carry out the threat. The specific offense characteristics are intended to distinguish such cases.

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