Annoying Phone Calls

Chapter 269 Section 14A makes it a crime to make harassing phone calls. To prove a defendant guilty of making harassing phone calls, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant repeatedly made phone calls or caused such calls to be made to a person or family. “Repeatedly” means 3 or more times. The defendant need not actually speak to the other person as long as he or she made the calls or caused them to be made.

  2. The defendant’s only purpose was to annoy, molest, or harass the other person. A defendant cannot be guilty of this offense if there was some other purpose in making the calls. The number, timing, sequence and tone of the calls and the defendant’s persistence may be considered.

The same statute also makes it a crime to make obscene phone calls. To prove a defendant guilty of making obscene phone calls, there are likewise two elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt as follows:

  1. The defendant repeatedly made calls or caused calls to be made. Again, under this law, “repeatedly” means three or more times.

  2. The defendant used obscene or indecent language in making the calls. The defendant need only know the general character of the language, and it is not necessary that he or she know that the language is legally obscene.

Even if the calls are anonymous, factors such as the timing and content, similarities between the calls and known conduct, and interpersonal relationships can sometimes give rise to the inference that the defendant was the source.


Making annoying telephone calls is punishable by a fine of up to $500 or by imprisonment for up to 3 months, or both.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer: (617) 973 5858

Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. is a highly-seasoned Boston defense attorney who successfully handles criminal cases throughout Massachusetts. One of Boston’s best, Attorney Wheeler provides the top notch representation that is so critical in every criminal case. Even when a charge does not strike you as being particularly serious, a criminal record will surely have a negative impact on your future and goals. To protect against that, you need a lawyer who will fight for you. To speak with Robert Wheeler, call the Law Offices of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at (617) 973 5858 or send him an e-mail today. You can reach the office 24/7.