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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Can my relative be charged with summary harassment for this

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Can my relative be charged with summary harassment for this in Pennslyvania?

One of my relatives is being taken to district court by a neighbor who filed a private criminal complaint against him. Her list of complaints lists several things listed. One of the things the neighbor wrote against him was that she was tearing overgrown branches from one of his trees. In her complaint sheet, she says that he grabbed her by the wrists when she was doing so and made her leave. My relative told me that was grossly exaggerated. He told me his neighbor was trying to tear an entire tree branch down, even what wasn’t overgrown. He said he told the woman to beat it and she got scared and left. There was nobody else at the scene and the neighbor did not even file a police report about it until the following day. The timing of the police report makes her story harder to believe, since people would normally call the police right away if something like what she said happened. Can my relative be charged with summary harassment for telling the neighbor to back off or no? What should he say to discredit the neighbor during the summary trial?
Summary offense harassment is the most minor form of violation in PA, since he could have been charged with assault if he grabbed her over the tree. Your relative needs to bring in witnesses as to her conduct, even though there may not have been any witnesses to this particular incident if there are witnesses to her conduct in general. Also, this is going to be her word against his word and if there are no bruises or marks there is no way to prove what she is saying for the judge to decide which party is telling the truth.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX that info along to him about the witness(es) he needs. He said she had no marks because it didn't even go as far as she is saying it did (with him grabbing her). But is that particular incident, with him telling her to leave, enough for the neighbor to get a summary harassment charge against him?

Without more evidence than him telling her to leave his property and stop destroying his property, no it is not likely they can convict him for just that alone, no. He has to bring in evidence to show the damage she was trying to do to the tree, photographs or video showing what she did.
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