Since the 2003 revised statute, Maryland legislation defines stalking as the malicious ‘course of conduct’ involving the pursuit or approach of an individual, where such action – whether with intent, knowledge or assumable knowledge within reason – may induce direct fear of harm, whether emotional or physical, towards the victim or towards a third party over which the person is concerned. Such harm includes (but is not limited to) direct bodily injury, sexual assault (as defined by Maryland Law), rape, false imprisonment or death. All cases pertaining to stalking are covered by Title 3, Subtitle 9 of Maryland Criminal Law Code.
Ever since this amendment, stalking has transitioned from being treated as misdemeanor – punishable with up to one-year of jail time accompanied by fines – to a felony of greater consequence punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Moreover – prior to this change – the establishment of the crime required demonstrated proof indicating that the alleged stalker conducted the action with intent. This prerequisite has now been waived.
Note that Maryland (within the context of stalking) defines ‘course of conduct’ as the continuous demonstration of a particular behavior or behavior pattern.
It is important to take into account scenarios where this statute loses its applicability, which include pursuits and approaches conducted in order to ensure compliance with a court order, performed to carry out a specific, lawful, commercial purpose and authorized (or required or protected) by local, State or federal law.
In Maryland, these laws also cover the misuse of telephone facilities, electronic communication and other equipment where the intention involves harassment, torment, abuse, or embarrassment. This law also covers repetitive, incessant contact with the same intentions, or any communication that indecent, lascivious, lewd or obscene proposal, suggestion, request, or comment. The abuse of telephone facilities for such indicated purposes may involve fines (not exceeding 500USD) and a jail term (limited to three years). The misuse of electronic mail is restricted to a fine of monetary value not rising above 500USD, and jail time not exceeding one year. Certain cases can exceed these limits depending on the severity of their nature, any indirect damages incurred, and how far they extend. Laser pointers – legally defined as devices that emit amplified light – are also covered when used with the intention of harming or harassing an individual.
In all aforementioned cases, while proof of intent is unnecessary in Maryland, it is necessary to prove the action of stalking. This can be done through witness testimony, photographs, a well-documented timeline/log and proven intent. If danger is imminent, you are advised to contact local police immediately.
Most cases of stalking and harassment are – to a great extent – subjective, and are mutable on a case to case basis – with the exception of certain definitions. As a result, it is greatly recommended to hire a highly skilled, adept stalking attorney (preferable with expertise regarding cases akin to yours within your locality) to secure the most favorable outcomes.
If you need a Maryland stalking lawyer to help you with your stalking case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland stalking attorneys can help you. C