What is Harassment?
In Pennsylvania, harassment must be proven, and is defined as the following:
- Violence, including hitting or kicking; also, threatening violent contact.
- Stalking or following a particular person in a public place, like the mall or grocery store.
- Communication with another person in a lewd, threatening, lascivious, or obscene manner. This can include communicating through text messages, letters, emails, faxes, voicemails, phone calls, and online posts.
- Anonymous communication on a recurring basis.
- Recurring communication at exceptionally inconvenient hours.
- Communicating in any other annoying or obscene manner.
- Continuously engaging in actions that serve no legitimate purpose.
Some harassment cases are considered to be summary offense charges. They may not result in a prison sentence but will still cause problems for you, because you will end up with a criminal record.
For example, if a prospective employer runs a background check before hiring you, and if he or she finds out that you have a criminal record, they may not hire you. Even if you are not charged with anything major, a harassment defense attorney in Pittsburgh will help you escape a criminal record.
Some harassment charges are classified as misdemeanors; these could result in jail time. Harassment charges often accompany stalking charges.What Should I do?
In Pennsylvania, harassment has a very broad definition. This makes it imperative that you have a lawyer to represent you and to help you evaluate accusations that you or your family member has broken the law.
- Hire a reputable lawyer as soon as possible. If you wait, you lessen your chances of having your case dismissed or your punishment reduced.
- Do not communicate with the police or prosecutors without having a lawyer beside you. Without an attorney standing with you, your words could be twisted and presented in a wrong way. If you are taken into police custody and they begin to question you, tell them you want an attorney to be with you, and then politely refuse to respond to any questions they ask.
For harassment convictions that have been classified as a summary offense, the consequences are fines as high as $300 and jail sentences of up to 90 days.
If a person’s harassment conviction is a third-degree misdemeanor, he or she faces fines as high as $2,000 and jail sentences of up to one year.
The details of a harassment case are what determines its classification.
A harassment charge can be upgraded one degree if the offender has violated a protection order before that involved the same household member, family member, or victim. This means that a summary offense can become a third-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree misdemeanor could become a second-degree misdemeanor. In either case, the penalties get worse.
A second-degree misdemeanor comes with fines of up to $5,000 and jail sentences of up to 2 years.A Pittsburgh Harassment Defense Attorney Can Help
Often, someone with a grievance against you will make up a story or misunderstand something and made an unfair claim against you. You need a lawyer to help you sort through the charges and evidence and help you get the false charges dismissed.
To learn more or to get in touch with a reputable Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney, contact Logue Law Group online or at (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210 as soon as possible. The harassment defense lawyers at our Pittsburgh firm have the experience and skills you need.
Logue Law Group serves the Pittsburgh area, as well as West Virginia and Ohio.Interested in Learning More About Harassment Law in Pennsylvania?
You can find the definition and a description of harassment in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18 Chapter 27.
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