Stalking is a serious crime in the United States. Having a stalker who engages in repetitive harassment and communications can cause a person to seriously fear for their life and well-being. Because of the severity of the crime, the associated penalties are harsh. If you are facing charges related to stalking, reach out to a Pottstown criminal defense lawyer for representation and skilled legal advice.

What is the Definition of the Crime of Stalking?

Stalking can take many forms. Under Pennsylvania state law, stalking is defined as the crime of behaving in repetitive actions and communications that demonstrate an intent to physically harm a person or cause them substantial emotional distress and reasonable fear. Examples of behavior that can be considered stalking include the following.

  • Repeated and excessive communication with the victim via calls, text messages, emails, etc.
  • Following the victim nonconsensually
  • Threatening bodily harm against the victim or their friends or family
  • Taking photos or videos of the victim without their consent

A victim of stalking may request a restraining order with a judge in an effort to keep the perpetrator away from them and keep them safe.

What Are the Penalties for a Stalking Conviction?

The penalties for a stalking offense will vary depending on the specific circumstances. A court will consider the details of the crime, its effect on the victim, the perpetrator’s criminal history, and more when deciding an appropriate consequence. The following are the standard repercussions of stalking convictions.

A first offense is typically classified as a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment of up to 5 years

Stalking could be charged as a third-degree felony if it is a repeat offense or if the perpetrator has previously been convicted of another domestic violence crime. Third-degree felony charges can result in the following.

  • Fines of up to $15,000
  • Imprisonment of up to 7 years

Any conviction can also be accompanied by probation, community service, counseling, and more.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Stalking Case?

If you are being charged with stalking it is highly recommended that you acquire the help of an experienced defense attorney. You need a skilled lawyer who is able to advocate for your best interests and who has extensive knowledge of the law.

The penalties of a stalking conviction are severe. To avoid facing the full extent of your charges speak with a skilled attorney. With their help, you can develop a strong defensive strategy to have your charges reduced or dismissed. You may be able to gather evidence to provide an alibi for one or more of the incidents, show that you did not intend to cause the victim to fear for their safety, or that you have been falsely identified.

Your lawyer will help you gather and organize evidence, communicate with relevant parties, and defend you in a court of law. For help with your stalking case contact an experienced defense attorney.