Under Pennsylvania law, stalking is a serious criminal offense that can cost you financial stability and freedom. If you’ve been arrested for stalking or suspect you might be, you may be overwhelmed and scared. Although your first instinct may be to try to talk your way out of a bad situation, your first move should always be to remain silent and consult a knowledgeable stalking defense lawyer.
At The Zeiger Firm, our Pennsylvania stalking defense lawyer can protect your rights and offer aggressive legal representation. Our purpose is to help you obtain the best results possible for the circumstances of your case. Contact our office today for your free case review. Let us help you work through this challenging situation and explain the path forward.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help If You’re Facing Stalking Charges
Navigating the Pennsylvania criminal justice system is not something you should try on your own. Preparing for the legal process can be complicated. Complex rules of criminal procedure and evidence apply. Additionally, you need to have a robust understanding of the law. When your freedom is on the line, handling your case yourself is dangerous. You need the help only an experienced stalking defense attorney can provide.
A stalking lawyer can immediately help by protecting your rights and reviewing the specifics of your unique case. After becoming familiar with your case, your attorney can create a compelling defense strategy tailored to the particular factors present in your situation. Once a strategy is in place, your attorney can focus on pre-trial motions. A pre-trial motion is a formal request by your attorney seeking a specific type of relief from the court. For example, an aggressive stalking defense lawyer can help strengthen your case by filing pre-trial motions to suppress unfavorable evidence that the prosecution could present at trial.
A skilled defense attorney could move to dismiss the charges against you if there is insufficient evidence. They can carefully review any plea bargain the prosecution offers and advise you whether it is in your best interest to accept it.
When your case is heading for trial, you need a stalking defense attorney with litigation experience. Trial preparation can be a detail-specific and time-consuming process. Your defense attorney should have ample litigation experience to guide you through this process and properly explain what you can expect.
Your criminal defense lawyer can also help with discovery. Discovery is the formal process of investigating and exchanging information between the parties before trial. It can be one of the most labor-intensive aspects of the litigation process. Yet, it is vital because it ensures that your lawyer receives all of the information they need to properly prepare for trial.
Every Pennsylvania stalking case is unique. A seasoned defense attorney should never take a cookie-cutter approach to defending your case. At The Zeiger Firm, our Pennsylvania stalking defense lawyer carefully examines all aspects of your situation before creating a compelling and strategic defense plan. Your case deserves careful consideration and tactful planning. The right defense strategy can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Understanding Stalking Charges in Pennsylvania
18 Pa. C.S. § 2709.1 defines stalking as a criminal offense that occurs when an individual repeatedly engages in conduct that is meant to make another person fear for their safety or cause them substantial emotional distress. Actions that may fall under the umbrella of this definition can include following another person or constantly communicating with an individual when that communication places the other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or emotional distress.
What constitutes unwanted communication under the state’s stalking laws? Common examples of unwanted communication can include:
- Physical communication or talking in person
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Direct messaging through social media
- Public social media posts
Stalking is a distinct criminal offense. However, it is often confused with harassment, defined under a separate legal statute. Harassment, as outlined under 18 Pa. C.S. § 2709, involves acting with intent to harass, alarm, or annoy another individual. Using lewd language, threatening words, following someone in public, physically engaging with another person, sending repeated anonymous communication, or contacting the person at highly inconvenient times may constitute harassment.
Potential Penalties for Stalking and Harassment
Stalking is a much more severe offense than harassment and can lead to significant penalties. The penalties for stalking in Pennsylvania can vary depending on the circumstances of an individual case. For example, those with previous stalking or domestic violence convictions may face more severe penalties. Criminal penalties in Pennsylvania for stalking can include:
Stalking first offense – First-degree misdemeanor
- Fines up to $10,000
- Imprisonment for up to five years
Stalking subsequent offense – Third-degree felony
- Fines up to $15,000
- Imprisonment up to seven years
Harassment – Summary offense
- Fines up to $250
- Up to 90 days in jail
Harassment – Third-degree misdemeanor
- Fines up to $5,000
- Up to 90 days in jail
Harassment – Second-degree misdemeanor
- Fines up to $5,000
- Imprisonment for up to two years
Probation and other consequences may also apply.
A stalking or harassment conviction can also create difficulties in securing employment or housing. A conviction can damage a person’s social and professional relationships and reputation. Never attempt to fight for your freedom alone. You must consult with an aggressive stalking defense lawyer to protect yourself.
Contact an Experienced Stalking Defense Attorney Today
Stalking defense attorneys play a crucial role in crafting compelling defense strategies designed to help you achieve the best result possible for the circumstances of your case. Forging ahead without the help of an experienced stalking lawyer can jeopardize your freedom and future.
If you are facing stalking or harassment charges in Pennsylvania, you need to discuss your situation with a skilled stalking defense attorney immediately. An attorney with The Zeiger Firm can safeguard your legal rights and pursue every avenue for reaching a favorable resolution. Rely on the help only an aggressive criminal defense attorney can provide.
To arrange a free case review with a tenacious and knowledgeable stalking defense attorney, contact The Zeiger Firm today. We are willing to fight for you.