Criminal Stalking In Bel Air, Maryland
It sometimes happens that an individual becomes obsessed with the object of their desire and takes matters too far. They engage in a course of conduct that puts another person in fear for their lives. When this happens, they can be charged under Maryland statutes with the crime of stalking. In this article, the Bel Air, MD criminal defense attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered will discuss the crime of stalking and how it is prosecuted under Maryland law.
Understanding stalking under Maryland law
Under Maryland law, the crime of stalking is not constituted by any singular act, but by a course of conduct or repeated behaviors that place another person in fear that they will be injured or harmed by the stalker. “Course of conduct” is defined as a repeated pattern of conduct that occurs over a period of time. It must indicate a consistent and continuous purpose.
Maryland’s stalking laws are triggered when an individual commits an evil-minded course of conduct that includes pursuing the victim where the perpetrator’s goal is to place the victim in reasonable fear of any of the following situations. These include:
- Fear of assault
- Fear of bodily injury
- Fear of death
- Fear of false imprisonment
- Fear of rape
- Fear that a third party may suffer any of the above
Any individual who is found guilty of stalking will be convicted of a misdemeanor. They will be subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and a potential prison sentence of five years behind bars.
Additionally, when an individual commits the offense of stalking, they also commit several other offenses at the same time. The charges can be applied either concurrently or consecutively based on the court overseeing the case. Such crimes include:
- Harassment – A person commits the crime of harassment when they engage in a malicious course of conduct or commit a single act of following the victim in a public place in such a manner that the victim becomes afraid or annoyed. To commit harassment, the victim or another party must have warned the perpetrator to stop. The perpetrator must have the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim.
- Misuse of telephone facilities or equipment – A person guilty of stalking may also be charged with the misuse of telephone facilities or equipment. It is unlawful for an individual to make obscene, indecent, or lewd comments, proposals, suggestions, or requests with the intent to embarrass, harass, annoy, or distress the victim. It is further unlawful for the individual to call repeatedly with the intent to harass, annoy, torment, or distress the individual being called.
- Misuse of electronic communication – This provision follows closely to the misuse of a telephone. However, it also includes sending images of your genitals to someone for the purpose of harassment.
Talk to a Bel Air, MD Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
The Bel Air, MD stalking defense attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered represent the interests of those who are charged with stalking in Maryland. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense strategy immediately.