Both harassment and stalking charges are treated very seriously by the state of Pennsylvania. The thought is that if they allow crimes like these to go unpunished, they could lead to more serious offenses. Because of this, if you are suspected of harassment or stalking, you can expect to be treated severely by the law.
Whether you admit to the offense or if you maintain your innocence, being accused of a crime like this can be quite humbling. You’ll notice the police have no sympathy for you and people close to you may even turn their backs. It’s during this time that a defense lawyer can be your most supportive advocate.
Your defense attorney will be there to hear your side of the story and to help you come up with the best course of action given your specific circumstances.
Pennsylvania Harassment Law and Penalties
According to Pennsylvania State Laws, harassment is defined as acting with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another by doing one of the following:
- Shoving, striking, kicking or otherwise subjecting the person to physical contact or merely threatening to do so,
- Following the alleged victim in or about public place(s),
- Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which serve no legitimate purpose,
- Communicating any lewd, lascivious, threatening, or obscene words, language, drawings, or caricature,
- Communicating repeatedly in an anonymous manner,
- Communicating repeatedly at extremely inconvenience hours, or
- Otherwise communicating repeatedly.
It’s easy to see how harassment charges can be levied under a variety of circumstances. Depending on the exact nature of the charges, you could be facing summary charges or charges of a 3rd degree misdemeanor for harassment. This means, you could serve up to one year in jail if convicted.
Pennsylvania Stalking Laws
Stalking is considered a more serious offense than harassment. It is defined as:
Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicating to another person, repeatedly committing acts to another person, or repeatedly following the other person without proper authority, in a manner which exhibits an intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional stress to that person.
Generally, a first offense stalking charge is levied as a 1st degree misdemeanor, carrying up to one year in jail. However, if this isn’t your first offense of stalking or if you have previously faced other charges with the same alleged victim, you could be charged with a 3rd degree felony, which carries up to 7 years in prison.
When you are facing charges as serious as harassment or stalking, you need someone fighting on your behalf. If you are accused of one of these crimes, contact our attorneys today.