Maryland Stalking Laws
Most of us don’t mind a little extra attention now and again. It could be some text messages, flowers or a wink on eHarmony. All three of those instances are generally legal, assuming they don't occur in excess. But what about unwanted contact that starts to feel threatening or dangerous? Fortunately, Maryland has laws designed to protect citizens from stalkers. This is a brief introduction to stalking laws in Maryland.
Stalking Statutes in Maryland
State laws regarding stalking will differ depending on where you live. The chart below highlights some of Maryland’s anti-stalking statutes.
|Code Section||Art. 27 §3-802.|
|Stalking Defined as||Malicious course of conduct of approaching or pursuing with intent to place in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death|
|Punishment/Classification||Misdemeanor: jail maximum 5 years and/or fine maximum $5,000|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||-|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||-|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes. Does not apply to any peaceable activity intended to express political views or provide information to others.|
A stalking definition might prove helpful here. In general, Stalking is defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. This can include following a person, showing up at a person's home or workplace, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or other objects, or even vandalizing a person's property. By definition, these actions must continue over time to constitute stalking.
In most cases, the perpetrator’s actions will be considered in connection with other actions to determine if someone is being stalked. Repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person, will be analyzed in the context of whether the aggressor is a total stranger, slight acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else.
Sadly, many stalking cases coincide with incidents of domestic violence, as a considerable number of stalkers were once in romantic relationships with the people they are stalking. Whether or not you are familiar with someone who may be stalking you, Maryland offers multiple kinds of protective orders for victims to keep their stalkers away.
Related Resources for Stalking Laws:
Being stalked can be a frightening experience. If you would like legal assistance with a possible stalking case, you can contact an experienced criminal law attorney in your area to schedule a consultation. For more introductory information, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Domestic Violence and Criminal Charges.