Domestic Violence and Stalking Defenses
Stalking is not an isolated incident but a series of persistent offensive behaviors. According to the NCADV, one in six women and one in nineteen men have experienced stalking. While stalking is already unnerving in violent relationships, it becomes even more alarming when it involves a former or current partner.
Understand What Domestic Violence Is
In Pennsylvania, the law does not differentiate between domestic violence, stalking, and assault. However, the way a domestic violence case is handled changes when the victim and offender are in a “domestic relationship.” The state defines a domestic relationship as:
- Living together as partners, or being former or current partners with a child together.
- Having a former or current sexual relationship with the offender.
- Being a parent and a child, or
- Having some other familial relationship with the offender.
Under Section 6102-Title 23-DOMESTIC RELATIONS, domestic violence crimes encompass physical injuries caused recklessly, any form of sexual assault or rape, threatening bodily harm, incest with or without a deadly weapon, indecent assault, sexual abuse of minors, false imprisonment, and intentionally instilling reasonable fear of bodily harm by following the victim without authority.
How to Know You Are Being Stalked?
According to Pennsylvania law, stalking is any act or communication that intends to cause reasonable fear of bodily injury or substantial emotional distress. Section 2709.1-Title 18-CRIMES AND OFFENCES states that stalking can involve multiple acts as part of a course of conduct. Initially, stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor, but it becomes a felony when:
- The stalking occurs repeatedly.
- The offender has a history of violent acts towards the same family member.
- The victim has a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) against the offender.
However, it is important to note that filing a false stalking report is considered either falsely incriminating someone or submitting a fictitious report, according to Pennsylvania law.
Stalking Behaviors, Penalties for Stalking and Defenses to Stalking
When it comes to stalking, certain behaviors may include violating a protective order, repeated harassment, trespassing, making obscene calls, tracking or disabling a victim’s car, tampering with home security, and relentless monitoring. At Logue Law Group, our Pittsburgh Lawyer team is here to assist you.
In Pennsylvania, stalking can lead to serious consequences. For a first-degree misdemeanor, you could face a $10,000 fine and up to five years of imprisonment. As for a third-degree felony, the penalties increase to a $15,000 fine and up to seven years of imprisonment. It is crucial to acknowledge that stalking charges become more severe under specific circumstances, such as when the victim is a minor or elderly, when a PFA has been violated, or when the offense is classified as domestic violence. In these situations, an arrest can be made without a warrant. As one of the leading Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyers, I am here to support you.
Defenses Raise for Stalking When
When it comes to mounting a defense against stalking charges, there are a few avenues to explore.
- Defense arguments may include the prosecution failing to prove the offense, or
- Instances where the victim mistakenly accuses the wrong person or deceitfully lies.
If you find yourself in a stalking-related legal situation, it is important to exercise caution in your actions. I strongly advise against contacting the victim directly, even if you believe you are innocent. Let Attorney Sean Logue take the helm and handle your case with expertise.
For assistance, please call us today at 844.PITT.DUI. As your Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer and Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer, we are committed to protecting your rights and providing you with the legal support you need.
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