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Sentence for Harassment Without Violence

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Harassment without violence is a serious criminal offence. As such, it is important to understand the harassment without violence sentencing guidelines if you are facing a charge.

Here, we explain the acts that amount to harassment without violence, what the sentence for harassment without violence is, and what steps you can take to ensure you have the strongest possible defence against these types of allegations.

While we hope this information is useful, please note that it should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal support with allegations of harassment without violence, then please get in touch and our team can advise you.

What is harassment without violence and stalking?

Harassment (along with the similar offence of stalking) is an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. There is a separate offence for racially or religiously aggravated harassment which is found in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Harassment without violence refers to repeated behaviours which intend to cause alarm or distress to a victim. There must be more than one instance of the behaviour or a clear pattern of behaviour.

Harassment involving putting people in fear of violence is a separate, more serious offence. As you might expect, it involves repeated behaviours that leave a victim fearing that violence will be used against them, such as a threat to kill.

It is also separate from sexual harassment which is not prosecuted as a criminal offence in its own right, but is instead prosecuted under several different offences such as sexual assault and rape.

Stalking is very closely related to harassment without violence. It is defined more simply as persistently following someone or trying to force contact with them.

What does the prosecution have to prove for harassment without violence?

A person commits the offence of harassment without violence when:

  1. he pursues a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another; and
  2. he knows or ought to know that the course of conduct amounts to harassment of the other.

The offence is deliberately drafted to be very wide so that it can cover a wide range of conduct. The Court in Curtis held that harassment is ‘conduct targeted at an individual which is calculated to produce [alarm or distress] and which is oppressive and unreasonable’. It does not need to be the same type of behaviour each time.

One-off incidents are not considered to be harassment, however as little as two incidents could be sufficient.

Examples of actions which could be considered harassment without violence can include:

  • Persistently making aggressive comments to someone in person, online, or both
  • Sending unwanted communications (texts, calls, voice messages, social media messages, emails, letters)
  • Waiting outside someone’s home or place of work to confront them
  • Repeatedly driving past someone’s home or place of work

What is the sentence for harassment without violence?

The maximum harassment without violence sentence is six months’ custody (or up to two years’ if the harassment was racially or religiously aggravated). The harassment without sentencing guidelines indicates that the sentencing range is between a discharge and 26 weeks’ custody.

The sentence that is handed out for anyone convicted of harassment without violence is determined by their culpability and the harm caused, as well as the presence of any aggravating or mitigating factors.

Are there any time limitations?

A charge for harassment without violence can be brought forward provided that at least one incident has occurred within the previous six months. However, other incidents that have allegedly occurred outside of that period can still form part of the prosecution’s case.

Are you being accused of harassment without violence?

We understand how distressing it can be to be accused of harassment without violence, especially as this could mean you are facing a potential prison sentence. Having expert legal advice on your side is therefore essential.

Our specialist criminal defence solicitors have over 45 years of experience in handling complex and serious cases, including those related to harassment. Whatever your situation, we will be able to provide tailored advice that helps you to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, whether that means having charges dropped or having a sentence lowered if conviction is unavoidable.

We are highly skilled at dealing with all forms of evidence that are used in these types of cases, including digital evidence and witness testimonies. That means that we have the skills to establish a compelling case, identify any flaws in the case against you, and ensure that any evidence that supports your position is clearly identified.

We have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation. This, coupled with our extensive experience, means that we can demonstrate a strong track record of previous success, which has also allowed us to establish strong relationships with many of the country’s leading criminal defence barristers.

If you are facing a charge of harassment without violence, we are here to provide you with the support you need.

Related matters:

We also provide support and guidance on various related matters, including:

Our related cases

Fees and funding

When you work with our team, we will always keep you informed on the fees that you will be expected to pay.

If you need to attend court after being charged with harassment without violence, Legal Aid may become available. Whether this is possible will depend on a means test, and whether the grant of public funding is justified.

Where you do not qualify for Legal Aid, the alternative will be to fund the case on a private basis.          

To find out more about the way we handle fees (both legal aid public funding and private fees) for harassment without violence, please use the links provided below:

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

If you are due to attend the police station, require any urgent specialist advice, or immediate representation for harassment without violence, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

24/7 legal representation for harassment without violence

Please get in touch for a free consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice for harassment without violence.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number at 07836 577 556.


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Common questions

We always work with the most experienced and best leading UK barristers, KCs (Kings Counsel). We cover all criminal cases 24/7 at the police station and court. Offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester cover cases across England and Wales. We can offer Legal Aid and affordable Private fee agreements. We can see you the same day, including virtually. Our Senior Partners supervise all of our cases.

How quickly do you respond?

We respond quickly even during out of hours. We do not get our work by paying for online adverts but based on the fact that few criminal law firms can match our 45 years of experience. Most of our cases are still from word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients. We are called daily by dissatisfied clients from firms with less experience than us. We respond very quickly to new enquiries. We know what clients seek and so we update clients rapidly.

Can you get cases dropped?

Yes, read about the recent cases we've helped our clients with here.

We always keep you updated and give straightforward advice. We will get cases dropped early where the case is weak or should not be prosecuted. We will be upfront with you about where you can benefit from a good result with an early guilty plea, such as a discount on your sentence. As we work on cases across all levels with clients from all walks of life, we are excellent at giving clear, spot-on advice. As an established firm, we can allocate a whole team to your case often at short notice to secure evidence to minimise the damage to you. 

Have you won any awards?


"JD Spicer Zeb demonstrated a clear commitment to client service through their work with vulnerable and diverse individuals in what can be severely traumatic circumstances".

Do you offer free consultations?

Where it is possible, we aim to provide an initial consultation to you. If we can speak to you, we can if required inform you about  –

  • Whether we can take the case on and our relevant experience.
  • Public and private funding benefits.
  • Assistance in applying for legal aid where we are likely to accept instructions.
  • An outline of options in police interview only. We will not advise you on which option to adopt.
  • Providing our free written guide explaining the police station process.
  • The gravity of routine and day-to-day offences you face.
  • Consequences of not attending the court or police station.
  • Consequences of interfering with any witnesses.
  • Retaining any evidence in support of your case.
  • If possible an outline of the elements of the offence that the police or CPS must prove.
  • This consultation will normally be by telephone or email and will only be for as long as we deem necessary to establish if we can act for you. If we cannot usefully give you any advice in this manner then we will not continue with the consultation. We will not discuss the case in depth for you to be able to decide on your plea or any significant aspect of the case, as this cannot be undertaken informally.
  • Referring you, if possible, to other firms for matters out of our specialism or if we cannot help.

Consultations do not apply to the following cases –

  • If we do not intend to take the case on.
  • Road Traffic cases, drink driving, drug driving, driving bans, speeding, no insurance, mobile phone use, points etc.
  • In all cases where we do not have the capacity to take your case or the availability of suitably qualified staff to provide an initial free consultation. This is applicable in all cases but especially where a more senior lawyer is required because of your personal needs or the complexity of the case.
  • Harassment/stalking/ coercive behaviour/malicious communications or road traffic cases and most sensitive cases. These cases are often too complicated to assess in short consultations.
  • The locations concerned may be too distant to represent you adequately or it may not be cost-effective for you or us.
  • The case is too complicated to assess or raises various charges or facts, complexity, or history to be considered informally or in a short consultation.
  • In most Legal aid transfers where legal aid is granted to another firm except in very grave cases, we may assess the case and merits for a transfer.
  • If your relationship has broken down with your existing solicitor or several solicitors.
  • If you have been released under investigation and have already had a police station attendance. 
  • If you hold legal aid with another firm and seek a second opinion.
  • If you are calling on behalf of the client as a friend or family member unless you have full authority and full facts.
  • To businesses.
  • Advising whether you were given good advice by your other solicitor.
  • Whether to decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Whether you have an arguable defence in law or factually complicated defences.
  • Any advice you have had after your first court appearance.
  • Any advice on appeal on conviction or sentence.
  • If we feel we are unable to communicate with you.
  • If we are likely to be conflicted or breach our professional rules.