As one of the more common lower level crimes, the Crime of Harassment is seen in a lot of criminal cases. While this charge is usually graded as a Summary Offense, it may also be a Misdemeanor and carry jail time. Make sure you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you understand the possible ramifications.
Pennsylvania Criminal Code section 18 PACS 2709 provides seven different types of Criminal Harassment. It is because of the broad language of these definitions that the Police are able to charge you with Harassment under almost any circumstances. You may be found guilty of Harassment is the District Attorney is able to prove that:
You intended to harass or annoy another person by:
- Making violent physical contact with that other person or by threatening that other person with violent physical contact;
- Following that person through public places;
- Repeatedly committing acts that serve no legitimate purpose;
- Communicating to that other person by word, language, drawings, or caricatures in any way that is lewd, lascivious, threatening, or obscene;
- Communicating repeatedly in an anonymous manner;
- Communicating repeatedly at an extremely inconvenient hour; or
- Communicating in any other annoying or obscene manner.
Not only are the definitions listed above broadly stated, but the Pennsylvania Criminal Code defines “Communication” in a very broad manner as well. According to the Criminal Code, “Communication” may be any form of person-to-person communication, including; in writing, over email, through the internet, over the telephone, by text message, or by fax. In today’s technological era, that means Harassment may be committed in a number of different ways.
If you are found guilty of Criminal Harassment, you will be sentenced to either a Summary Offense or a Misdemeanor. Any of the definitions listed above that include the requirement of “Communication” are graded as a Misdemeanor of the third degree. All other Harassment is a summary offense.
While the crime of Harassment is not the most serious crime listed in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, you may still suffer some serious punishment and jail time if you are found guilty. By hiring an attorney who represents clients charged with crimes, you will be making sure that you are protecting your rights. A Criminal Defense Attorney, like the one in our office, will know how to defend your case and help navigate you through the criminal process. Give my office a call at (412) 209-0657 so that we may begin fighting for your rights.