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Harassment & Stalking Attorney in Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton

Harassment Law - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2709

        (a)  Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of

     harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another,

     the person:

            (1)  strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects the

        other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to

        do the same;

            (2)  follows the other person in or about a public place

        or places;

            (3)  engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits

        acts which serve no legitimate purpose;

            (4)  communicates to or about such other person any lewd,

        lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings

        or caricatures;

            (5)  communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

            (6)  communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient

        hours; or

            (7)  communicates repeatedly in a manner other than

        specified in paragraphs (4), (5) and (6).

        (b)  Stalking.--(Deleted by amendment).

        (b.1)  Venue.--

            (1)  An offense committed under this section may be

        deemed to have been committed at either the place at which

        the communication or communications were made or at the place

        where the communication or communications were received.

            (2)  Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in

        more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other

        jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a

        continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

        (c)  Grading.--

            (1)  An offense under subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3) shall

        constitute a summary offense.

            (2)  (i)  An offense under subsection (a)(4), (5), (6) or

            (7) shall constitute a misdemeanor of the third degree.

                (ii)  (Deleted by amendment).

        (d)  False reports.--A person who knowingly gives false

     information to any law enforcement officer with the intent to

     implicate another under this section commits an offense under

     section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement

     authorities).

        (e)  Application of section.--This section shall not apply to

     conduct by a party to a labor dispute as defined in the act of

     June 2, 1937 (P.L.1198, No.308), known as the Labor Anti-

     Injunction Act, or to any constitutionally protected activity.

        (e.1)  Course of conduct.--(Deleted by amendment).

        (f)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following

     words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this

     subsection:

        "Communicates."  Conveys a message without intent of

     legitimate communication or address by oral, nonverbal, written

     or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail,

     Internet, facsimile, telex, wireless communication or similar

     transmission.

        "Course of conduct."  A pattern of actions composed of more

     than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a

     continuity of conduct. Acts indicating a course of conduct which

     occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other

     jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a

     continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

 

Stalking Law - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2709.1

(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of stalking

when the person either:

(1) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits

acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person; or

(2) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicates to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or communicate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.

(b) Venue.--

(1) An offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed at either the place at which the communication or communications were made or at the place where the communication or communications were received.

(2) Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

(c) Grading.--

(1) Except as otherwise provided for in paragraph (2), a first offense under this section shall constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2) A second or subsequent offense under this section or a first offense under subsection (a) if the person has been previously convicted of a crime of violence involving the same victim, family or household member, including, but not limited to, a violation of section 2701 (relating to simple assault), 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering another person), 2901 (relating to kidnapping), 3121 (relating to rape) or 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), an order issued under section 4954 (relating to protective orders) or an order issued under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108 (relating to relief) shall constitute a felony of the third degree.

(d) False reports.--

A person who knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer with the intent to implicate another under this section commits an offense under section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities).

(e) Application of section.--

This section shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute as defined in the act of June 2, 1937 (P.L.1198, No.308), known as the Labor Anti-Injunction Act, or to any constitutionally protected activity.

(f) Definitions.--

As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Communicates." To convey a message without intent of legitimate communication or address by oral, nonverbal, written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex, wireless communication or similar transmission.

"Course of conduct." A pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct. The term includes lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings, caricatures or actions, either in person or anonymously. Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

"Emotional distress." A temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.

"Family or household member." Spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

 

Relevant Case Law regarding Stalking and Harassment in the Lehigh Valley

A court should be extremely reluctant to infer criminal intent to harass solely from filing complaints with appropriate government agencies and the making of telephone calls during regular office hours, lest citizen’s constitutional freedoms be chilled.  Com v. Bender, 248 Pa. Super. 504, 375 A.2d 354 (1977).

 

Course of Conduct and Harassment & Stalking

A single act does not constitute a course of conduct requisite for harassment charges.  Comm. v. Schnabel, 236 Pa. Super. 280, 344 A.2d 896 (1975).

 

Course of conduct harassment requires that the government prove that the actions complained of had no legitimate purpose whereas stalking does not.  Comm. v. Urrutia, 439 Pa. Super. 227, 653 A.2d 706 (1995).

 

Mere Argument and Harassment & Stalking

A mere argument without physical threat is not sufficient to support charges of harassment.  Comm. v. Burton, 299 Pa. Super 147, 445 A.2d 191 (1982).

 

Courthouse in Easton, Pennsylvania

Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton Family Law, DUI, Unemployment & Criminal Defense Attorney.  Lehigh Valley Lawyers

Madsen Law Offices is located in Easton, Pennsylvania and represents clients throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg and other outlying areas.

Madsen Law Offices

1000 Paul Street

Easton, Pa 18045

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