Is verbal assault a crime?

Physical assault is fairly easy to prove and obviously a crime since you are harming another person. However, you may wonder about verbal assault. Sometimes words can be just as damaging as a fist, so it is not right that someone can harass you verbally and get away with it.

You are correct in your thinking. Maryland law does make verbal assault a crime. In fact, according to Stop Street Harassment, there are multiple laws that make verbal assault illegal and hold those guilty of it responsible.


The first is the law against harassment in general. A person cannot follow you or otherwise continuously engage you in a manner that annoys or alarms you. Under this law, you must tell the person first to stop the harassment, but after that warning, you have the right to call the police and report the person.


Another helpful law is disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. You may think this is just for physical altercations or situations where someone is bothering a group of people, but it is not that limited. This is a broad statute that allows for you to report someone if he or she is verbally abusing you in any way. This includes making a scene, yelling at you and cursing at you.


Most often verbal harassment is a misdemeanor, but when someone knows you will stand up for yourself, they often will not continue to try to assault you. Using the law to stop verbal abuse is your right, so you should use it. This information is for education and is not legal advice.



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