Awkward Flirting or Stalking – When Does a Pickup Become a Crime?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

Navigating the dating world is tricky. You may not always know whether the object of your affection has understood your intentions or whether it is appropriate to continue to pursue them. What began as tricky can become risky if you cross over from awkwardly flirting to stalking. Read on to learn the difference.

What Is Stalking?

Stalking isn't only following a person around and tracking their movements – although it can be. According to the law in Pennsylvania, stalking is “repeated harassment that creates substantial emotional distress.” This includes two key elements. The first element is that the behavior must be repeated. This means that it must happen more than once, and it doesn't matter how far apart those incidents occur. The second element is that the behavior must cause substantial emotional distress or a reasonable fear of bodily harm. If the behavior makes the person feel very afraid or threatened, then it could be considered stalking.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Stalking?

In Pennsylvania, stalking is a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, if the defendant has previously been convicted of stalking or a crime of violence against the victim, then stalking becomes a felony of the third degree. A PFA (Protection from Abuse) order may be filed against the defendant to stop the behavior and prevent contact. The punishment for stalking for a first-degree misdemeanor can be up to five years in jail. Fines up to $10,000 can also be imposed. For a third-degree felony stalking charge, you can be incarcerated for up to seven years and fined up to $15,000.

What Is the Difference Between Flirting and Stalking?

The difference between awkwardly flirting with someone and stalking them is determined by whether the behavior is unwanted and repeated. If you make advances toward someone and they tell you that they are not interested and you continue a repeated, unwanted behavior, that can be considered stalking. Asking a woman out on a date is not stalking, but leaving letters at her home every day begging her to go on a date with you is stalking. The behavior doesn't have to be physical or occur in person to be considered stalking, either. Contacting that person repeatedly by telephone or on the internet can also be considered stalking.

If you have been accused of stalking, you should immediately stop making contact of any kind with the accuser. Don't approach them in person, don't call them, don't leave gifts or notes at their home or place of work, and don't email or send messages through social media. Cease contact and get an attorney to represent you right away.

Our Criminal Law Team are expert Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys, and we have many years of experience in defending people against stalking charges. Our Criminal Law Team at the LLF Law Firm will protect you against these charges and advise you on the best course of action. Call 888-535-3686 or go online to schedule a consultation right away.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.