Harassment and Domestic Violence: Understanding the Complexities
Harassment is a term that encompasses various behaviors capable of causing emotional distress and a sense of danger. It goes beyond physical contact or direct threats, extending to seemingly innocuous text messages or phone calls. Unfortunately, the complexity of harassment cases is often not fully captured in police reports, making the defense’s battle an uphill one. Prosecutors may already have preconceived opinions about guilt or innocence, prepared to vehemently oppose the defendant.
Defining Harassment: What the Law Says
In the state of Pennsylvania, the laws governing harassment are outlined in Section 2709 of the Pennsylvania Code. These statutes cover two distinct crimes: cyber harassment of a child and harassment.
Harassment: An Overview
According to the law, harassment occurs when a person engages in intentional actions aimed at annoying, harassing, or alarming another individual. The following acts are categorized as harassment:
Cyber Harassment of a Child
This particular crime specifically targets children. It involves using electronic means or social media to intentionally alarm, annoy, or harass a child by:
- Threatening harm.
- Making disparaging statements or expressing opinions about the child’s physical or mental health condition, sexuality, physical characteristics, or sexual activity.
Understanding Harassment Penalties in Pennsylvania
Harassment charges can range from summary offenses to third-degree misdemeanors. A summary offense may result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. On the other hand, a third-degree misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. It is important to note that if a defendant violates a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order in connection with the harassment charge or continues to harass the same victim or their family, the assigned punishment will be one grade higher. It is crucial to consider the specific circumstances surrounding each incident, as some acts are considered summary offenses while others are classified as misdemeanors.
Harassment encompasses various acts that can lead to charges. Here are some common examples:
- Making intentional contact to harm a person
- Repeatedly attempting to contact someone
- Sending disparaging or sexual comments to a minor via the internet
- Transmitting lewd jokes, pictures, or comments to someone
- Threatening a minor online
- Persistently issuing threats to an individual
- Following someone in public
- Making contact with a person at inconvenient times
The crux of a harassment case lies in proving intent. Did the defendant have the intention to harm the victim?
Defending Against Harassment Charges
Harassment charges share similarities with stalking charges, although with lower penalties. However, proving a harassment case is comparatively easier for prosecutors. The focus largely rests on establishing the intent behind the actions. Prosecutors often rely on the defendant’s messages and phone calls as evidence. Additionally, victims’ statements may also be used in court.
In defense against harassment charges, it is crucial to ensure that both sides of the story are heard. This entails putting the defendant on the stand to provide their perspective on the events. Prosecutors will seek to challenge the defendant’s version, but a skilled Beaver DUI attorney ensures their client’s voice is properly represented.
Facing harassment charges can be an arduous experience. All too often, prosecutors and juries prematurely judge guilt based solely on the nature of the accusation. However, having an experienced and dedicated Beaver DUI attorney can make a significant difference.
Logue Law – Protecting Your Rights
If you or a loved one is facing harassment charges, you need a Beaver criminal lawyer who comprehends the intricacies of the legal system and is unafraid to fight for your case. At Logue Law, Sean Logue and his associates possess the experience, tenacity, and empathy required. Give them a call at 844.PITT.DUI or contact them online here to schedule a free initial consultation. Logue Law serves Beaver, as well as West Virginia and Ohio.
- Powerful defense strategies
- Aggressive representation
- Comprehensive understanding of the legal system
Choose Logue Law for unwavering support in your harassment case.
Free ConsultationYou will never find us short of knowledge & commitment
while handling your case.