Maryland Stalking Lawyer
Stalking and harassment are serious charges in Maryland, and carry misdemeanor penalties with fines ranging from $300.00 to $5,000.00, as well as imprisonment terms ranging from 90 days to five 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 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. En Español.
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 five years and fines of up to $5,000.00. A seasoned Maryland stalking lawyer can fight these charges, examining each detail of your case to build a strong defense.
Stalking, covered by Maryland Criminal Law Code § 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 § 3-303 through § 3-308
- Kidnapping or any other type of false imprisonment
§ 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 five 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 § 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
§ 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 cannot be charged with harassment.
The penalties associated with a harassment conviction include a misdemeanor, a fine of up to $500.00 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Recidivists are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.00 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days. Hiring a reputable Maryland 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 § 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 a telephone in Maryland are subject to a misdemeanor penalty, as per code § 3-804(b), as well as a fine not to exceed $500.00 and a jail term not to exceed three years. These types of crimes are often highly subjective, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced Maryland stalking lawyer by your side throughout the process.
What is Misuse of Electronic Mail?
Misuse of electronic mail, covered by state code § 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 § 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.
§ 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 $10,000.00 as well as five years in jail, or up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.00 if the email spam is distributed in the commission of a felony.
How Does Someone Misuse a Laser Pointer?
Misuse of a laser pointer, as covered by state code § 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 cannot 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 $500.00.
Help From a Maryland Stalking 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 lawyer, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving the most favorable outcome possible on the day of your trial.