Two bills before the Maryland legislature seek to expand the legal definitions of “harassment”. As technology evolves, so must the laws and as they stand harassment laws only cover telephone harassment and email.
According to the Washington Examiner, bullying someone via text or on social networking sites like Facebook could soon be against the law. There have been several reports in the media lately about such harassment, supposedly making these laws necessary.
Email was added to the harassment laws back in 1998. According to the statute, however, it only applies to messages sent from one person’s IP address to another’s, which just doesn’t fit posting on networks like Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. Electronic harassment, if the legislation passes, would be applicable to all of these and also contain working banning harassment via text messages.
The penalty for these offenses would also be boosted, punishing it similarly to telephone harassment with a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Like stalking, harassment charges typically happen between two people who know each other. While recent examples in the media have involved high school students, harassment among adults is still quite common.
Oftentimes, the person accused of harassment doesn’t even realize that what they were doing could be considered a criminal offense. Unfortunately, however, ignorance of the law is not a justifiable legal defense.
If you are facing charges of harassment I can help. When accused of putting someone in fear, threatening them, or even stalking them, you can feel like the whole system is set up against you. This is where having an aggressive defense lawyer comes in handy.
Contact me today for a consultation on a Maryland criminal charge.