When Does Online Snooping Become Cyberstalking?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

Anyone who's been through a breakup since the advent of social media can probably be accused of a little harmless snooping. You might check in on your ex from time to time and see what they've been up to in your absence. It's natural, though, arguably, not entirely healthy. If you aren't careful, though, this unhealthy habit can turn criminal. You could be accused of cyberstalking.

Cyberstalking in Pennsylvania

Cyberstalking isn't unlike general stalking, except that it takes place online. If you or someone you know is treating online snooping like a compulsion, you may need to check in and ask yourself whether these habits could constitute cyberstalking. Cyberstalking in PA may occur when:

  • Tracking the location of your ex
  • Sending unsolicited messages
  • Keeping tabs on your ex's computer use or internet use
  • Emailing or sending obscene messages

Importantly, elements of cyberstalking include repeated interactions that are one-sided and made without the permission of the other person. There's a level of harassment that makes the victim of cyberstalking feel unsafe or unable to move through their day-to-day without severe inconvenience.

Cyberstalking is Criminal

Just like stalking is a crime in Pennsylvania, so is cyberstalking. If you're charged with cyberstalking under PA law, you could face up to five years in prison for a misdemeanor and up to seven years in prison for a felony-level offense.

You could additionally be liable for thousands of dollars in fines and civil penalties, and financial compensation owed in civil lawsuits brought by victims.

Protective Orders Against Cyberstalkers

Acts of cyberstalking most often occur between domestic partners or former domestic partners. When this is the case, the victim of cyberstalking can seek a Protection from Abuse Order from the court to prohibit the accused from stalking or sending online messages.

If a PFA Order is issued against you, you must take it seriously. You can't make any contact with the victim, even if you never intended for cyberstalking to occur. A PFA is serious, and although it isn't criminal in nature, those who violate PFA Orders can be arrested on contempt charges.

You might not realize your conduct has passed the threshold into cyberstalking until you receive notice of the PFA against you. Many are tempted to reach out to their accusers and try to clear up misunderstandings. This is a mistake. Instead, you need to contact a PA defense attorney who can help you defend yourself and appeal or amend the PFA's restrictions.

Call a PA Cyberstalking Defense Attorney

If you're accused of cyberstalking in PA, you need to call a defense attorney today. Our Criminal Law Team knows what's at stake in stalking cases, and we can help you through the defense process. Call 888-535-3686 or contact the dedicated Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm online today.

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!


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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.

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