In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
- Insight from the Maryland Legislature on Tracking Devices: October 1, 2022 Update
Insight from the Maryland Legislature on Tracking Devices: October 1, 2022 Update
As a follow up to an earlier article “tracking” House Bill 148/Senate Bill 328 (you can find it here), we can report that the bill passed. Effective October 1, 2022, the definition of criminal stalking under § 3-802 of the Maryland Criminal Law Article will be expanded to include conduct that occurs through the use of a device that can pinpoint or track the location of another without the person’s knowledge or consent.
The impact of this legislative amendment is that fairly standard investigative tactics, such as using a GPS tracker on a vehicle or a cell phone, without the person’s knowledge or consent, will now constitute stalking under the Maryland criminal statute. A person who violates this statute is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.
Another important consequence of the passage of the tracking legislation is that a court can grant a protective order or peace order based on stalking. Therefore, if you use a device to track a person’s whereabouts without the person’s knowledge or consent, you may not only be found guilty of criminal stalking, but you may also be the subject of a protective order or peace order.