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College Park Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence laws have become increasingly strict in recent years throughout the United States. In an attempt to reduce domestic violence in American homes, Congress and state legislatures have established severe penalties and other consequences that can adversely impact you for the rest of your life. When you are facing charges for violating a protective order or any other domestic violence-related offense, you may wish to speak with a College Park domestic violence lawyer first.

A conviction for an offense that stems from domestic violence can be a red flag for prospective employers and landlords, among others. It may cause difficulties with interpersonal relationships and affect your ability to see and support your own children. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you in devising an effective defense to any charges that you may be facing.

Civil Protective Order Violations

Many states have established an independent criminal offense of domestic violence. The Maryland legislature, however, has chosen to establish criminal offenses that generally involve the same actions and penalties regardless as to whether they arise from domestic violence. Some of these offenses carry the potential for harsh potential penalties, so consulting a domestic violence attorney in College Park may be a wise step. The one exception to this statutory scheme is a violation of a civil protective order, which is an order that prohibits contact between individuals based on allegations of domestic violence.

Under Md. Code, Fam. Law § 4-509, individuals who violate the terms and conditions of a protective order can face as much as 90 days in jail, as well as a fine of up to $1,000. For second violations, the potential penalties increase to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Types of Criminal Offenses Related to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence-related criminal offenses involve any acts that cause serious bodily harm or places another in fear imminent and serious bodily harm. Some of these offenses are misdemeanors, which carry lesser penalties, but some are felony offenses. According to Md. Code Fam. Law. § 4-501, these offenses may include:

  • Assault
  • Abuse of children and vulnerable adults
  • False imprisonment
  • Stalking
  • Rape and other sex crimes

When these offenses involve a family or household member, the law classifies them as crimes involving domestic violence. These individuals include current or former spouses, cohabitants (people who live together and have an intimate relationship), relatives, individuals who share a child, and individuals who have or had an intimate relationship.

Assault and Domestic Violence

Due to the expansive nature of the Maryland assault statute, assault is a frequent criminal charge in domestic violence situations. Md. Code, Crim. Law § 3-202 defines first-degree assault as a felony offense in which individuals take some action to intentionally assault or attempt to assault others, whether the actions result in serious bodily injury or not. First-degree assault also occurs when individuals use a firearm or other weapon in the commission of an assault.

Second-degree assault, defined in § 3-203, occurs when individuals make threats or have offensive physical contact with others. This offense is a misdemeanor that can result in up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Due to the potential severity of the consequences for an assault conviction, getting advice from a College Park domestic violence attorney may be helpful in building a defense to these charges.

Work with a College Park Domestic Violence Attorney

Whether your charges involve violation of a civil protective order, assault, stalking, or other offenses arising from a domestic violence situation, a strong defense from the outset of your case is very important. A conviction can result in a number of harsh penalties that can change your life and affect your fundamental rights. An experienced College Park domestic violence lawyer may be able to work with you to craft a strategy to defend you against these charges.

Before talking to law enforcement officers or attempting to deal with criminal charges on your own, take the time to speak with a domestic violence attorney in College Park for advice. With important rights at stake, you cannot afford to go without effective legal advice and counsel.