Maryland Harassment and Stalking Lawyer
Stalking and harassment are serious charges in Maryland, and carry misdemeanor penalties with fines ranging from $300 to $5,000, as well as imprisonment terms ranging from 90 days to 5 years, depending on the nature and severity of the alleged crime. Harassment and stalking charges are often highly subjective, and come down to unverifiable testimony from the defendant against the plaintiff. In order to protect your rights and prove your innocence, your wisest course of action is to hire an experienced Maryland stalking / harassment lawyer with a strong track record of success and in-depth knowledge of harassment and stalking laws as they apply within the state of Maryland.
Stalking Law Info
Maryland Harassment and Stalking Law
Harassment and stalking are considered criminal offenses in Maryland, and are handled by laws separate from those that pertain to similar crimes such as extortion and making threats. Both stalking and harassment are covered by Title 3, Subtitle 8 of the Maryland criminal law code, with various codes within this section pertaining to the definitions of stalking and harassment, as well as their related penalties. Crimes closely connected to stalking, such as surveillance and other crimes against privacy, are covered by Title 3, Subtitle 9 of the Maryland criminal law code. If you’re charged with any of these crimes, you could face a misdemeanor conviction as well as a jail sentence of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000. A seasoned Maryland harassment / stalking lawyer can fight these charges, examining each detail of your case to build a strong defense.
Stalking, covered by by Maryland criminal code √ü 3-802, is defined as repeatedly pursuing or approaching another individual with the intention of putting that person in reasonable fear of:
- Serious bodily injury
- Assault in any form
- Rape or any other type of sexual offense defined in criminal codes √ü 3-303 through √ü 3-308
- Kidnapping or any other type of false imprisonment
Criminal code √ü 3-802(b) defines the types of behaviors that are not considered stalking in Maryland. They include actions taken to ensure compliance with an order of the court, to carry out a legal commercial purpose, or those otherwise authorized, protected or required by law.
If you’re found guilty of stalking in Maryland, you could face a misdemeanor conviction as well as a fine not to exceed $5,000, a prison sentence not to exceed 5 years, or both. This sentence can run concurrent or consecutive to a sentence for another crime based on the circumstances of your case and the judgment of the court.
Harassment, covered by state code √ü 3-803, is defined as following another individual in or around a public place, or maliciously engaging in repeated behavior that seriously annoys or alarms another individual:
- With the intent to annoy, alarm or harass
- After being reasonably requested or warned to stop the behavior by the individual or someone acting on behalf of the individual
- Without any legal purpose
Maryland criminal code √ü 3-803(b) provides an exception to the stated definition of harassment. If you engage in peaceable activity with the intention of providing information to others or expressing a political view, you can not be charged with harassment.
The penalties associated with a harassment conviction include a misdemeanor, a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Repeat offenders are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days. Hiring a reputable Maryland harassment / stalking defense attorney will give you the best possible chance of having a favorable outcome in court.
Misuse of Telephone Facilities and Equipment
Misuse of telephone, covered by state code √ü 3-804, is considered a crime in Maryland and is defined as using telephone equipment to make:
- A single anonymous call with the intention of embarrassing, harassing, tormenting, abusing or annoying another individual
- Repeated calls with the same intentions
- A call that includes an indecent, lascivious, lewd or obscene proposal, suggestion, request or comment
Individuals found guilty of misuse of telephone in Maryland are subject to a misdemeanor penalty, as per code √ü 3-804(b), as well as a fine not to exceed $500 and a jail term not to exceed 3 years. These types of crimes are often highly subjective, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced Maryland stalking / harassment lawyer by your side throughout the process.
Misuse of Electronic Mail
Misuse of electronic mail, covered by state code √ü 3-805, is defined as communication or the transmission of information through the use of any electronic device, such as a computer, cell phone or tablet PC, to a person with a unique address with the intention of harassing one or more individuals, or to harass by sending obscene, lewd or lascivious materials.
According to state code √ü 3-805(d), individuals are exempt from violation if they send email as part of a peaceable activity with the intention of providing information to or sharing political views with others.
The penalty associated with a misuse of electronic mail conviction is a misdemeanor, a fine of up to $500 and a jail term of up to 1 year.
State code √ü 3-805.1 pertains to spam deterrence, and the sending of commercial emails to large groups of people with the intention of harassing or misleading. Depending on the specifics of the case, conviction can lead to a misdemeanor and fines of up to $10,000 as well as 5 years in jail, or up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $25,000 if the email spam is distributed in commission of a felony.
Misuse of Laser Pointer
Misuse of a laser pointer, as covered by state code √ü 3-806, is defined as the use of a laser pointer to knowingly illuminate another individual in a public place in a manner that endangers or harasses that person. A laser pointer is defined as a device that emits light amplified by the stimulated emission of radiation, visible to the human eye.
Certain activities are exempt from this law. If you’re using the laser pointer during the normal course of trade or work activities, or if you’re using it for educational purposes while engaged in a training class or organized meeting, you can not be charged with misuse of a laser pointer.
Upon conviction, the penalties associated with misuse of a laser pointer include a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500.
Help From a Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with any crimes related to stalking or harassment in Maryland, a qualified, licensed Maryland defense attorney can help. He or she will examine every unique aspect of your case in order to create a strong defense that protects your constitutional rights, and uses every available legal resource to fight for your innocence and the dismissal or lowering of your charges. With the assistance of a Maryland stalking / harassment lawyer, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving the most favorable outcome possible on the day of your trial.
In order to best serve our clients, you’ll find harassment attorneys in Maryland in a variety of locations. A local attorney can better represent clients accused of crimes like harassment and stalking. Office locations throughout the state of Maryland are ready to assist you in the following areas.
Harassment and stalking can be a common charge in Baltimore, largely due to the presence of a large college student population at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Baltimore, Maryland is the 20th largest metropolitan area in the country, and has an associated crime rate significantly higher than the national average. A harassment / stalking lawyer in Baltimore can help you fight consequences that can ultimately lead to severe charges including up to five years imprisonment.
Located just northwest of Washington D.C., Bethesda has a crime rate 54 percent lower than the average of other towns and cities in the state, although it’s still 32 percent higher than the national average. Stalking and harassment lawyers in Bethesda represent clients accused of any number of crimes under state criminal codes √ü 3-802 through √ü 3-806.
While violent crimes like murder and rape are uncommon in College Park, Maryland, local authorities still treat harassment and stalking as a serious misdemeanor. Our harassment / stalking attorneys in College Park are experienced in dealing with a variety of clients, including students from the University of Maryland-College Park.
In 2010, violent crimes impacted 644.6 out of every 100,000 people living in the Columbia, Maryland area. A small fraction of crime in Columbia consists of harassment or stalking, but those facing charges for any crime related to harassment can face harsh penalties like severe fines and up to five years in prison. Columbia, with it’s 99,615 residents in 2010, ranks as the second most populous area in Maryland — only Baltimore is more populated.
Montgomery County police publish only data for seven felony crimes, and delegate all other crimes in Part II of their quarterly report listings. During the first quarter of 2012, 8,906 total Part II crimes were reported in the Montgomery area, among these are harassment and stalking related charges.
Prince George’s County
Harassment and stalking charges in Prince George’s County made up only a small percentage of the 2,425 crimes reported in the area in 2011. Instead the area is known for contributing 20 percent of the total murders in Maryland from 1985 to 2006. Added community pressure on law enforcement in Prince George’s County makes it vital to hire a well-qualified harassment / stalking attorney if charged with a crime. If you need assistance in this area of law in Hyattsville, Bowie, or anywhere else in Prince George’s County, our attorneys might be able to help.
Located within the center of Montgomery County, Maryland, Rockville is the third most populous incorporated city area in Maryland, with 61,209 residents in 2010. Compared to the rest of Maryland and the United States, the crime rate is relatively low in Rockville with around 1,559 crimes annually. Rockville harassment / stalking attorneys assist clients facing charges in Rockville and the surrounding metropolitan area.