It’s not uncommon for relationships to sour. When they do, negative animosity towards one another can leave individuals amidst heated arguments and false accusations. In some instances, these allegations take on a criminal nature, which, in turn, can lead to criminal charges and the potential for the imposition of serious penalties.
One common allegation in these situations is stalking. Under Pennsylvania law, stalking occurs in one of two ways. First, stalking could occur when an individual intentionally places another under reasonable fear of bodily injury or emotional distress by committing repeated acts. Most often, this is seen when an individual continues to follow another without authority to do so. The second way that stalking occurs is when an individual intentionally places another under reasonable fear of bodily injury or emotional distress by repeated attempts to communicate.
Stalking, though it may seem relatively minor, can leave an accused individual facing serious penalties. A first time conviction for the crime is a misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses, as well as first offenses with certain aggravating factors, can result in a felony conviction. The penalties can therefore include prison time. In addition to taking away one’s freedom, this penalty alone can cause extensive damage to one’s ability to find employment, secure housing and maintain a respectable reputation.
This is why those facing allegations of stalking need to consider how best to defend themselves. Many reports of stalking are falsely made, or the acts that are subject of the charge fail to meet the legal elements necessary for a conviction. Thus, those facing criminal charges need to consider whether they need the assistance of a qualified and aggressive legal professional who will know how to attack a prosecution’s weaknesses. Doing this could lead to a favorable outcome that protects one’s future as fully as possible under the circumstances.