While Maryland’s harassment laws do not require the victim to formally request the harasser to stop by letter, some documentation goes a long way in establishing your displeasure with the offender’s actions—hence the cease and desist letter- often at a lower cost than hiring an attorney to pursue other actions.
What is a cease and desist letter? A strongly worded cease and desist letter is a letter sent to the offender which outlines their offending behavior, informs of the legal reason that the behavior violates the law, and then demands that the behavior ceases to avoid further legal action.
If the behavior continues after you have sent them a strongly worded cease and desist letter, you still may seek stronger remedies which include obtaining a restraining order since you now possess proof that you had asked your harasser to stop the offensive or annoying behavior.
In which kinds of cases should you consider sending a cease and desist letter?
- Where a neighbor is constantly harassing you because of some imagined slight
- Where you want a cease and desist order for a noisy neighbor
- Where an ex boy friend or girl friend tyrannizes you by writing harsh comments about you on the Internet
- Where you are a victim of distribution of intimate images without consent
- Where a former partner sends you countless text messages or places countless phone calls to you because you have decided to end it
- Where someone has made threats to hurt you because they are unhappy with you
Maryland Law provides that :
§ 3-803. Harassment
(a) A person may not follow another in or about a public place or maliciously engage in a course of conduct that alarms or seriously annoys the other:
(1) with the intent to harass, alarm, or annoy the other;
(2) after receiving a reasonable warning or request to stop by or on behalf of the other; and
(3) without a legal purpose.
Clients have used this method as a cost effective attempt to stop the harassment before they decide to retain me to help them file a peace order or protective order against the offender. I recommend using a messenger to deliver the letter in person to accomplish the maximum effect. The letter should be direct and include the behavior you want the person to stop, such as stop the distribution of intimate images without consent, or cease and desist for a noisy neighbor.