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STALKING

STALKING

Stalking is something that is frequently made fun of in the movies or heard about in relation to celebrities, making it seem like no big deal. However, in reality, stalking is a very serious offense. Pennsylvania does not take alleged stalking offenders lightly because it is considered primarily a domestic violence offense that could lead to more serious offenses if not appropriately punished. Unfortunately, this stance on stalking also lends its use as a weapon in volatile domestic situations. A West Chester criminal defense attorney will be able to sort through the details of your case and fight for your rights and your freedom.

West Chester Stalking Attorney

If you are facing stalking charges in West Chester or the surrounding areas in Chester County or Delaware County, you could be facing an uphill battle. Though you are innocent until proven guilty, a stalking charge could be judged as a red flag that you are a significant risk for future domestic violence offenses.

With prior experience as an assistant district attorney, Michael Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm is skilled at identifying these kinds of prejudices and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. He will fight for your rights and your freedom by building a customized, responsive defense. To schedule your free consultation with the Skinner Law Firm and find out what we can do for your stalking case, call (610) 436-1410.


Important Definitions Regarding Stalking in Pennsylvania

Communicate – To convey a message by oral, nonverbal, written, or electronic means. Includes (but is not limited to) phone calls, emails, fax, and various Internet applications.

Course of Conduct – A pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time evidencing a continuation of conduct, including lewd, lusty, threatening, or obscene words, language, drawings, caricatures, or actions given or performed in person or anonymously

Emotional Distress – Temporary or permanent state of mental anguish

Family or Household Members:

  • Spouses
  • Ex-spouses
  • Significant others who live as spouses
  • Ex-significant others who lived as spouses
  • Parents
  • Parents who share a biological child
  • Children
  • Blood relatives
  • Relatives by marriage
  • Persons related by affinity
  • Current intimate or sexual partners
  • Former intimate or sexual partners

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Stalking in Chester County

Stalking is a crime in Pennsylvania and can be punishable as a felony depending on the circumstances of your case. Stalking is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. §2709.1 as a person who is either:

  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person – including following the person without proper authority – under circumstances that demonstrate an intent to cause emotional distress or fear of bodily injury in the other individual
  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicating to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or convey an intent to cause substantial emotional distress or fear of bodily injury in the other person

Acts committed in multiple jurisdictions can still be used to indicate a course of conduct in the jurisdiction where the alleged stalking offender is being brought to trial. Additionally, the allegation encompasses points where communications were made and where they were received, making it easier for a prosecutor to establish a pattern of behavior. An experienced West Chester domestic violence attorney will be able to guard your rights in this instance and fight to clear your name.


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Penalties for Stalking Charges in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is fairly punitive when it comes to punishing a stalking offense, especially if the alleged offender meets specific prior requirements. With specific priors, you could be facing a felony conviction and the loss of opportunities and rights it brings in addition to the formal penalties. Call an experienced Chester County stalking defense attorney if you face the following:

First-degree Misdemeanor

  • Simple stalking, first offense
  • $1,500-$10,000
  • Up to 5 years of prison

Third-degree Felony

  • Simple stalking, second or subsequent offense
  • Stalking with one of the following prior offenses involving the same person:
    • Simple assault
    • Aggravated assault
    • Reckless endangerment of another
    • Kidnapping
    • Involuntary deviate sex
    • Violation of protective order
  • Up to 7 years or prison time and/or probation
  • $2,500 – $15,000 fine

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Finding an Experienced Stalking Defense Lawyer in Chester County

Michael Skinner and the Skinner Law Firm are dedicated to fighting hard for your rights while providing the highest level of customer service. If you have been arrested and charged with stalking in West Chester or the surrounding areas in Chester County and Pennsylvania, call us today. Your first consultation is free, so call (610) 436-1410 to schedule yours.

Michael Skinner
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