Stalking and harassment are often associated with celebrities, but ordinary people can be stalked or harassed as well. One out of 20 adults in America is stalked during their lifetimes. These incidents are often connected to romantic relationships between private citizens who have parted ways. In Bucks County, a criminal stalking and harassment charge requires the assistance of an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in these types of cases. Since a conviction can result in incarceration, it is important to choose the criminal defense lawyer who can best tell your story to a judge or jury.Behaviors Forbidden by Pennsylvania Law
Harassment is a group of specific behaviors that a person uses to alarm, annoy or harass another person. Here are common examples of these behaviors:
- Subjecting someone to physical contact such as shoving, kicking, and striking
- Threatening someone with physical contact
- Following someone in or about a public place
- Repeatedly doing things that serve no legitimate purpose other than to alarm, annoy, or harass someone
- Saying lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words
- Communicating repeatedly with a specific person in an anonymous manner
- Communicating repeatedly with a specific person at extremely inconvenient times (e.g., repeated midnight phone calls)
As you can see, "harassment" covers a broad range of specific activities. In Pennsylvania, you may face third-degree misdemeanor charges or summary charges for these activities. If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail.
Stalking is punished more severely than harassment. Pennsylvania law defines stalking as engaging in a repeated course of conduct or communications to someone or repeatedly following someone. The course of conduct or repeated speech must show the intent to make the other person fear bodily injury or feel substantial emotional distress. Usually stalking applies not to an isolated incident but rather to multiple or repeated acts. A first offense of stalking is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction may result in one year of jail time. If it is not your first stalking charge, or you have criminal charges associated with the same victim, a Pennsylvania prosecutor could charge you with a third-degree felony. A conviction for that offense is punished with up to seven years in prison.Fight Bucks County Harassment and Stalking Prosecution
Harassment and stalking charges in Levittown can be extremely embarrassing. You may be tempted to take a plea deal at the outset, simply to avoid the experience of criminal prosecution. However, experienced Bucks County criminal defense lawyer John M. Kenney can provide sound advice if you are arrested and charged. He will work hard to find evidentiary issues in your case and consider all possible defenses. When a romantic relationship or marriage goes awry, for example, sometimes a false report is made for revenge or to secure the upper hand in a family law matter. It is illegal to knowingly give false information to a law enforcement officer intending to implicate another person in stalking or harassment charges. Contact Mr. Kenney at (215) 547-3031 or by completing our online form. We serve clients in Bristol, Morrisville, Fairless Hills, Yardley, and Langhorne, among other Bucks County areas.