Harassment is the following of another person in a public place or maliciously engaging in a course of conduct that seriously alarms or annoys the other person with the intent to harass, alarm, or annoy the other person after receiving a reasonable warning or request to stop by the other person and without legal purpose. See Md. Code Ann. Criminal Law 3-803. Harassment is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted for a first offense, the maximum penalty is 90 days of incarceration and/or a $500.00 fine. If convicted of a second or subsequent offense, the maximum penalty is 180 days of incarceration and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
What is a Reasonable Warning or Request to Stop?
In the case of Pall v. State, 117 Md. App. 242 (1997), the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland noted that “A reasonable warning is one in which the defendant knows or has reason to know that his [or her] conduct is unwanted and is warned to stop.” In the Pall case, the victim asked an employee of a store to escort her out to her vehicle because she feared that the defendant was following her and making her uncomfortable. However, there was no evidence that the defendant actually saw the victim being escorted to her car or that she was being made uncomfortable by his presence. Therefore, the defendant’s conviction for harassment was overturned because he did not receive a sufficient warning to stop what he was doing.
On the other hand, in the case of Galloway v. State, 130 Md. App. 89 (2000), a defendant’s conviction for harassment was upheld where he had sent a total of 133 letters to a person whom he had previously been convicted of kidnapping and stalking, and where the the recipient of the letters, her family, her attorney, and other parties had repeatedly requested that the defendant refrain from sending the letters.
Baltimore County, MD Harassment Attorney
Contact our office today if you have been accused of criminal harassment to schedule a consultation with an experienced Baltimore County criminal defense attorney. During your consultation, our principal attorney will meet with you to discuss the facts of your case, answer your questions, explore possible defenses, and identify strategies to avoid a conviction altogether or minimize the consequences of a possible conviction.