What is Harassment by Text? - Potter and Mckean County, PA Attorney
By David B. Ross, Esq.
Many people are shocked to find themselves charged with Harassment because of something that they texted or posted on line. Such a charges can be an absolute shock when we are taught that we have freedom of speech.
The relevant statute in PA is 18 Pa. CSA 2709.
§ 2709. Harassment.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another, the person:
(1) strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects the other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same;
(2) follows the other person in or about a public place or places;
(3) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose;
(4) communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures;
(5) communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;
(6) communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours; or
(7) communicates repeatedly in a manner other than specified in paragraphs (4), (5) and (6).
(1) Except as provided under paragraph (3), an offense under subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3) shall constitute a summary offense.
(2) An offense under subsection (a)(4), (5), (6) or (7) or (a.1) shall constitute a misdemeanor of the third degree.
The Courts have interpreted this to include sending a text after being told to stop or sending a series of texts with no legitimate purpose. The statute is intended to stop people from being able to harass other individuals by repeatedly sending unwanted communications. Unfortunately, the statute has also been weaponized by people who provoke conversations and then claim that the communication was unwanted. We see this a lot in the context of divorce or break ups.
If you have been accused of harassment, call our law firm to inquire about a consultation. You may very well have a defense if the communication was for a legitimate purpose or was invited by the other party. Evidence of exactly what happened is important. Do not delete the messages. Your attorney will need to review them. If you delete them, you may well delete the only defense that you have.
Give us a call today: (814) 274-8612 or (570) 309-6690. Our attorneys will help you to reach your goals. We have friendly and helpful staff members when you just need to talk to someone.
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Pennsylvania Cities served by County:
McKean County, PA
Aiken, Betula, Big Shanty, Bradford, Bullis Mills, Burning Well, Ceres, Clermont, Colegrove, Corwins Corners, Coryville, Crosby, Custer City, Cyclone, Dallas City, Degolia, Derrick City, Duke Center, East Kane, East Smethport, Eldred, Farmers Valley, Foster Brook, Freeman, Gardeau, Gifford, Gilmore, Griffiths, Hazel Hurst, Hazelton Mills, Hutchins, Kane, Kanesholm, Kasson, Kushequa, Lafayette, Lantz Corners, Larabee, Lewis Run, Liberty, Ludlow, Marshburg, Marvindale, Mount Alton, Mount Jewett, Myrtle, Ormsby, Port Allegany, Prentisvale, Rew, Rixford, Sergeant, Smethport, Tally Ho, Turtlepoint, Westline, Westmore, Wrights, Wrights Corners
Potter County, PA
Andrews Settlement, Austin, Brookland, Burtville, Carter Camp , Cherry Springs, Clara, Colesburg, Coneville, Conrad, Costello, Coudersport, Cross Fork, Eleven Mile, Ellisburg, Elmer, Galeton, Genesee, Germania, Germania Station, Gold, Harrison Valley, Hebron, Hebron Center, Honeoye, Inez, Keating Summit, Loucks Mills, Millport, Mills, Mina, Newfield, North Bingham, North Fork, Odin, Oleona, Oswayo, Potato City, Raymond, Roulette, Sharon Center, Shinglehouse, Sunderlinville, Sweden Valley, Ulysses, West Bingham, Wharton
Tioga County, PA
Academy Corners, Ansonia, Antrim, Arnot, Austinburg, Blackwell, Blossburg, Brookfield, Canoe Camp, Cherry Flats, Covington, Cowanesque, Daggett, Davis, Draper, Eastpoint, Elbridge, Elkland, Fallbrook, Farmington, Gaines, Gleason, Hartfield, Holliday, Jackson Summit, Jobs Corner, Keeneyville, Knapp, Knoxville, Lawrenceville, Leetonia, Leolyn, Liberty, Little Marsh, Mainesburg, Mansfield, Marshland, Middlebury Center, Millerton, Morris, Morris Run, Nauvoo, Nelson, Niles Valley, Ogdensburg, Osceola, Potter Brook, Rexford, Roaring Branch, Roseville, Round Top, Sabinsville, Sebring, Stonyfork, Tiadaghton, Tioga, Trowbridge, Watrous, Wellsboro, Westfield
Our attorneys are licensed in PA and GA. We cannot provide legal advice involving any other state.
Zip codes served: 15870 16701 16720 16726 16727 16729 16731 16732 16735 16738 16740 16743 16744 16745 16748 16749 16750 16901 16912 16914 16917 16920 16921 16928 16929 16930 16932 16933 16935 16936 16938 16942 16943 16946 16947 16950 17724 17765 15834 16720 16743 16746 16748 16915 16921 16922 16923 16927 16937 16941 16943 16948 17729 15832 15834 15861 16720 15821 15822 15823 15824 15827 15828 15832 15834 15845 15846 15853 15857 15860 15868 15870 16728 16735 17701 17702 17703
Attorney David B. Ross is responsible for the content of this site. PO Box 310, Coudersport, PA 16915