Get The Best Defense To Criminal Harassment Charges
If you are facing harassment charges in Pennsylvania, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney. The Pennsylvania harassment statute allows for strict penalties for anyone convicted of the offense. A conviction can have an impact on your freedom, finances, employment, mental health, and the well-being of your family.
At Grace Legal Offices, we are experienced criminal defense attorneys who have protected clients facing criminal charges. With prior experience as public defenders, we are highly qualified to counter misdemeanor or felony charges. Our extensive experience allows us to mount an effective defense to spare you from fines, jail, or prison time. Don’t take charges of stalking or harassment lightly since, even if you believe you’ve done nothing wrong, it could still be a violation of the law.
Understanding The Charges
Criminal harassment refers to the intentional and repeated behavior conducted with the intent to harass annoy or alarm, torment, or intimidate a specific person. Harassment charges in Pennsylvania depend on the nature of allegations and can either be classified as a misdemeanor charge or a summary offense. Though similar to simple assault, harassment charges stem from intent to harass, annoy or alarm someone, while simple assault involves causing or attempting to cause bodily injury. Oftentimes, defendants charged with simple assault may also face harassment charges due to the resemblances between both statutes.
In Pennsylvania, harassment and stalking charges can encompass various forms of unwanted conduct, including but not limited to:
- Unwanted physical contact or threatening physical harm
- Stalking or following someone persistently or showing up at their home or workplace
- Engaging in offensive or threatening communication, including phone calls, emails, or text messages
- Cyber harassment such as cyberstalking or cyberbullying through social media platforms or other electronic means or digital means
- Communicates repeatedly through methods such as calling, texting, messaging, or emailing
- Taking photos of the victim without consent
- Threatening to harm the victim’s loved ones and pets
Penalties For A Criminal Harassment Conviction
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for criminal harassment can vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances and the offense’s severity. The penalties are generally determined by the degree of the harassment charge.
Here are the potential penalties for criminal harassment in Pennsylvania:
- Summary Offenses: Harassment can be charged as a summary offense, which is the least severe category of offenses in Pennsylvania. If convicted of summary harassment, the penalties may include a fine of up to $300 and/or a maximum of 90 days of imprisonment.
- Third-Degree Misdemeanors: If the harassment includes physical contact, such as pushing, shoving, or striking the victim, or if it involves communication that is intended to cause substantial emotional distress, it can be charged as a misdemeanor of the third degree. The penalties for a third-degree misdemeanor may include up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Second-Degree Misdemeanors: Harassment can be elevated to a misdemeanor of the second degree if the offender has a prior conviction for harassment against the same victim within the past seven years. The penalties for second-degree misdemeanor cases may include up to two years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
- First-Degree Misdemeanors: If the harassment involves a threat to commit a crime of violence, such as assault, or if it is committed against certain protected individuals, such as law enforcement officers or public officials, it can be charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree. The penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor may include up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
It’s important to note that these penalties are general guidelines and may be subject to judicial discretion, especially if aggravating or mitigating factors are present in the case. Additionally, the penalties may be enhanced if the harassment involves other criminal offenses, such as stalking, assault, or terroristic threats.
If you are facing charges of harassment in Pennsylvania, the criminal defense lawyers at Grace Legal are familiar with Pennsylvania’s laws and legal procedures. They can provide you with specific guidance based on the details of your case and help you understand the potential penalties you may be facing.
Role of a Criminal Harassment Defense Lawyer
When facing harassment charges, a defense lawyer plays a critical role in protecting your rights and building a robust defense strategy. Here are some of the primary responsibilities and tasks performed by your criminal harassment defense lawyer:
1. Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
A harassment defense lawyer will provide you with a thorough consultation to understand the specifics of your case. They will review the evidence, police reports, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case against you.
2. Building a Defense Strategy
Based on the case evaluation, your defense lawyer will develop a defense strategy that aims to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and protect your rights. They will explore various legal options and defenses available under Pennsylvania law, such as lack of intent, mistaken identity, insufficient evidence, or constitutional violations.
3. Conducting Investigations
To strengthen your defense, a criminal defense lawyer will conduct independent investigations. They may interview witnesses, gather additional evidence, review surveillance footage, consult experts if necessary, and explore any potential inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
4. Negotiating with the Prosecution
In some cases, your defense lawyer may engage in negotiations with the prosecution to seek a favorable resolution. This could involve reducing the charges, securing a plea bargain, or seeking alternative sentencing options, depending on the circumstances of your case. Their goal is to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.
5. Courtroom Representation
If your case goes to trial, a harassment defense lawyer will represent you in court. They will present a strong defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, challenge the admissibility of evidence, and advocate for your innocence. Their experience and knowledge of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system will be crucial in navigating the complexities of courtroom proceedings.
Grace Legal: Aggressive Criminal Defense Representation
The lawyers at Grace Legal have years of extensive knowledge of harassment and stalking laws and have handled numerous cases with a proven track record in court. They served as public defenders prior to becoming private practice defense lawyers. From their offices in Camp Hill, they can defend the accused in Harrisburg and all of Central Pennsylvania.
A criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania plays a vital role in protecting your rights and providing you with a strong defense against charges of harassment. By leveraging their knowledge, experience, and advocacy skills, they will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges for harassment, consulting with a skilled defense lawyer is crucial to safeguard your future and ensure a fair legal process.