While neither stalking nor harassment is a felony, both are serious offenses that carry potential jail sentences.
Maryland law defines stalking as repeatedly pursuing or approaching another person with the intention of putting that person in reasonable fear of:
- Serious bodily injury
- Any form of assault
- Any type of sexual offense
- Kidnapping or false imprisonment
What constitutes doing something repeatedly is open to debate. It mans at least more than once. The law requires a course of conduct to sustain a conviction. That course of conduct must be a demonstrated malicious pattern. One can’t accidentally stalk someone. There are specific exceptions for legitimate business activity, or conduct [where someone may come in contact with another] necessary to carry out a lawful order of the court. Stalking is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
The law defines harassment as following another individual in or around a public place, or maliciously engaging in repeated behavior that seriously annoys or alarms another individual. There must be an intent to annoy, alarm, or harass, and the person has to continue his or her actions after being asked to stop. Harassment is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days.