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Thomas Swartz
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Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Can pennsylvania charge a person with felony use of a communication

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Can pennsylvania charge a person with felony use of a communication facility in participating in a felony drug transaction if the person was located in california when they received or sent a text message?

Are you referring to 18 Pa Con St. § 7512?


The territorial applicability of the Pennsylvania criminal laws are set forth in 18 Pa Con St. § 102, which provides in relevant part as follows:

§ 102. Territorial applicability.

(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person may be convicted under the law of this Commonwealth of an offense committed by his own conduct or the conduct of another for which he is legally accountable if either:

(1) the conduct which is an element of the offense or the result which is such an element occurs within this Commonwealth.

So, if either the conduct which consists of the offense or if the result of the offense occurs in Pennsylvania then Pennsylvania has the right to charge that person.

With respect to the specific crime of a use communication facility (18 Pa Con St. § 7512), it would be the case that if the text message is sent from Pennsylvania, then the person could be legally charged. It would not matter that the person who received the message was in California.


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