Chester County Cyberstalking Attorney
The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life. Nearly 90% of Americans used the service in 2018. As the Internet and other forms of communication have evolved, new ways for people to stalk and harass others have developed.
When we think of stalking, we envision an ominous person lurking outside a window in the middle of the night. Cyberstalking can involve the use of social media, phone calls, email and other forms of communication to harass or stalk an individual.
Chester County, PA Attorney for Cyberstalking
Pennsylvania takes a hard stance on cyberstalking. While it may seem like a joke to you, it is not a joke to the court. To defend the allegations against you, you will need the skilled defense of Ciccarelli Law Offices on your side.
We will listen to your story and use our experience to find the best legal options available for your case. Take the first step in building a solid defense for your case. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices today. We will strive to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Let Ciccarelli Law Offices walk you through this complicated legal process. Call (610) 692-8700 to schedule a free case consultation, or submit your information in the online contact form. We defend clients of cyberstalking in cities such as Paoli, Malvern, Exton, Downingtown, Devon, Berwyn, Phoenixville and many more.
- How is Cyberstalking Defined in Pennsylvania?
- Can You Go to Jail for Cyberstalking?
- Falsely Accused of Cyberstalking
- Restraining Orders
- Additional Resources
How is Cyberstalking Defined in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a law specifically for cyberstalking. Instead, the crime is charged as stalking under section 2709.1 of the Pennsylvania Statute. Under this section, there are two ways you could be charged with stalking. Those ways include:
- Engaging in a course of conduct or repeated acts without authorization and with the intent to place another in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause emotional distress to another person; or
- Engaging in a course of conduct or repeated communication with another person with the intent to place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause emotional distress.
While cyberstalking is not mentioned by name in the statutes, the definition of “communicates” includes electronic means that can include telephone, email, Internet, facsimile, telex, wireless communication or any similar transmission.
To be charged with the crime, your actions must have been committed more than once. These actions can include lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or actions. Doing any of these acts anonymously can also result in being charged with the crime.
Can You Go to Jail for Cyberstalking?
To answer that question, yes, you can go to jail for cyberstalking. The crime may seem harmless, but the state takes it seriously. How you are charged will depend on whether this is your first offense, or if you have been previously convicted of a violent crime against certain people.
If you are found guilty of stalking, you will face the following penalties under section 2709.1.
- First-degree misdemeanor: For a first offense, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to five years in prison and a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felony: If you are a repeat offender, or have been charged with a violent crime against a family or household member, or the victim, you will be charged with a third-degree felony that is punished by the following:
- Up to seven years in prison
- A fine that can cost up to $15,000
Victims of cyberstalking have the right to bring you to civil court and seek compensation for damages. These damages can include the emotional, social or financial loss accrued from the stalking incident.
Falsely Accused of Cyberstalking
If you have been falsely accused of cyberstalking, you should contact a defense attorney right away. It is a crime under section 2790.1 of the Pennsylvania Statutes to provide false information to law enforcement with the intention of incriminating someone.
If it’s found that someone provided false information to law enforcement, they could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor is punished by up to two years in jail and a fine that can cost up to $5,000.
Stalking is typically charged against an estranged spouse or partner. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for victims of cyberstalking to file a restraining order against the alleged offender.
In Pennsylvania, restraining orders are known as Protection from Abuse Orders (PFA). They act as a civil order that provides victim’s protection from the offender. They can also do the following:
- Direct an offender not to threaten harass or stalk
- Prevent the offender from contacting the victim
- Prevent the offender from visiting the victim’s home or place of work.
Additional Resources for Cyberstalking in Chester County, PA
Stalking | Pennsylvania Statutes– Follow this link to read the full text of the statute that governs stalking in Pennsylvania. You can read the precise legal definition of the crime, how it’s penalized and what happens if you falsely accuse someone of stalking. The statute can be read on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website.
Stalking Resource Center– Visit the National Center for Victims of Crime to gain access to resources related to stalking. Some of these resources include stalking stats, safety plans and tips for victims. The National Center for Victims of Crime is an organization that promotes awareness, action and advocacy for victims of stalking.
Chester County, PA Lawyer for Cyberstalking
Time is of the essence when it comes to planning a defense for cyberstalking. The sooner you contact Ciccarelli Law Offices, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court. Starting building your defense. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices today.
To schedule a time to discuss your case, call (610) 692-8700 or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients in counties that include Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County and Montgomery County.