Welcome to the Stalking Resource Center

The mission of the Stalking Resource Center is to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking.

Pennsylvania

This page lists the most applicable state crimes addressing stalking. However, depending on the facts of the case, a stalker might also be charged with other crimes, such as trespassing, intimidation of a witness, breaking and entering, etc. Check your state code or consult with your local prosecutor about other charges that might apply in a particular case.


Stalking

Harassment Related Offenses

Analyzing Stalking Laws


Stalking

18 Pa. C.S. § 2709.1. Stalking. (2003)
(a)   OFFENSE DEFINED.-- A person commits the crime of stalking when the person either:
(1)  engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person; or

(2)  engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicates to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or communicate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.

(b)   VENUE.-

(1)  An offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed at either the place at which the communication or communications were made or at the place where the communication or communications were received.

(2)  Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

(c)   GRADING.-

(1)  Except as otherwise provided for in paragraph (2), a first offense under this section shall constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2)  A second or subsequent offense under this section or a first offense under subsection (a) if the person has been previously convicted of a crime of violence involving the same victim, family or household member, including, but not limited to, a violation of section 2701 (relating to simple assault), 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering another person), 2901 (relating to kidnapping), 3121 (relating to rape) or 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), an order issued under section 4954 (relating to protective orders) or an order issued under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108 (relating to relief) shall constitute a felony of the third degree.

(d)   FALSE REPORTS.-- A person who knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer with the intent to implicate another under this section commits an offense under section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities).

(e)   APPLICATION OF SECTION.-- This section shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute as defined in the act of June 2, 1937 (P.L. 1198, No. 308), known as the Labor Anti-Injunction Act, or to any constitutionally protected activity.

(f)    DEFINITIONS.-- As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Communicates." To convey a message without intent of legitimate communication or address by oral, nonverbal, written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex, wireless communication or similar transmission.

"Course of conduct." A pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct. The term includes lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings, caricatures or actions, either in person or anonymously. Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

"Emotional distress." A temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.

"Family or household member." Spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

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Harassment

18 Pa. C.S. § 2709. Harassment. (2003)
(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).

(b)   Deleted by 2002, Dec. 9, P.L. 1759, No. 218, § 1, effective in 60 days.   

(B.1) VENUE.--

(1) An offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed at either the place at which the communication or communications were made or at the place where the communication or communications were received.

(2) Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

(c)   GRADING.-

(1)  An offense under subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3) shall constitute a summary offense.

(2)
(i) An offense under subsection (a)(4), (5), (6) or (7) shall constitute a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(d)   FALSE REPORTS.-- A person who knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer with the intent to implicate another under this section commits an offense under section 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities).

(e)   APPLICATION OF SECTION.-- This section shall not apply to conduct by a party to a labor dispute as defined in the act of June 2, 1937 (P.L. 1198, No. 308), known as the Labor Anti-Injunction Act, or to any constitutionally protected activity.

(f)    DEFINITIONS.-- As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Communicates." Conveys a message without intent of legitimate communication or address by oral, nonverbal, written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex, wireless communication or similar transmission.

"Course of conduct." A pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct. Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

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Related Offenses

18 Pa.C.S. § 7507.1. Invasion of privacy. (2005)
(a)  OFFENSE DEFINED.-- Except as set forth in subsection (d), a person commits the offense of invasion of privacy if he, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, knowingly does any of the following:

(1)  Views, photographs, videotapes, electronically depicts, films or otherwise records another person without that person's knowledge and consent while that person is in a state of full or partial nudity and is in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(2)  Photographs, videotapes, electronically depicts, films or otherwise records or personally views the intimate parts, whether or not covered by clothing, of another person without that person's knowledge and consent and which intimate parts that person does not intend to be visible by normal public observation.

(3)  Transfers or transmits an image obtained in violation of paragraph (1) or (2) by live or recorded telephone message, electronic mail or the Internet or by any other transfer of the medium on which the image is stored.

(a.1)  SEPARATE VIOLATIONS.-- A separate violation of this section shall occur:


(1)  for each victim of an offense under subsection (a) under the same or similar circumstances pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct whether at the same or different times; or


(2)   if a person is a victim of an offense under subsection (a) on more than one occasion during a separate course of conduct either individually or otherwise. 


(b)  GRADING.-- Invasion of privacy is a misdemeanor of the second degree if there is more than one violation. Otherwise, a violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(c)  COMMENCEMENT OF PROSECUTION.-- Notwithstanding the provisions of 42 Pa.C.S.

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