Engaging in actions that intimidate another person, such as repeatedly calling your ex at 3 a.m. and then hanging up, can lead to harassment charges being filed against you.
People who are angry, spiteful or want revenge often make false harassment claims against those they want to hurt. If you are arrested for harassment, it is critical that you have a Pittsburgh harassment attorney who is on your side and will fight hard to protect your rights.
In Pennsylvania, prosecutors will file harassment charges for behaviors that are intended to harass, annoy or alarm another person. Those include:
- Violent contact like striking, shoving, kicking, or the attempt of violent contact
- Following another person in a public place
- Repeatedly committing acts that serve no legitimate purpose
- Communications to or about another person that are lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene
- Communicating repeatedly in an anonymous manner
- Communicating repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours
- Communicating in other threatening or obscene ways
How Harassment Charges Can Impact You
Harassment is defined broadly under Pennsylvania law. Many harassment charges are graded as summary offenses, which are tried in Magisterial District Court. You can face 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine, although it is unlikely that a magisterial judge will sentence you to jail and you will probably just have to pay a fine. However, it is still important to hire an attorney and fight your charges, because the even the charges alone will show up on your permanent criminal record.
Depending on the circumstances, harassment charges can also be graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree and you may face a year in jail. When your employer finds out you were arrested for a crime like harassment, it can also have a damaging impact on your employment and you may even lose your job. You will have a criminal record that can negatively affect your ability to get a good job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school.
One of our Pittsburgh Harassment Attorneys Can Answer Your Questions
If you have been charged with a harassment offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a Pittsburgh harassment lawyer. You could face serious ramifications regardless of whether or not you’re charged, and it may have a lasting impact on your future. Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you. Do not have any contact at all with the alleged victim. If you phone or text the person (or otherwise communicate with that person), what you say can be taken out of context and used against you at a trial. When you meet with your lawyer, tell them everything that happened including the names of any possible witnesses. It is important to give your attorney the information they need to prove that your actions were unintentional and/or legal.