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Maryland Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence cases are complicated, and the stakes are high, as defendants could be prevented from living in a family home and seeing children while the outcome of the case is pending. Luckily, an experienced and knowledgeable Maryland domestic violence lawyer can help with resolving your case quickly and effectively, with the goal of avoiding conviction or reducing penalties. Call a criminal defense lawyer today for legal guidance and representation as you face these serious accusations.
Domestic Violence Laws in Maryland
In Maryland, there is no specific law prohibiting domestic violence. Instead, defendants accused of assaulting, stalking, or threatening intimate partners can be charged with criminal offenses like first or second degree assault under Maryland Code Sections 3-202 and 3-203 or harassment under Maryland Code Section 3-803. More stringent penalties may be imposed upon defendants who are accused of domestic violence when a child is in the house, after a 2014 change to the law, which could constitute child abuse.
Defendants may be prohibited from keeping weapons while subject to a protective order, and a protective order can also prevent a domestic violence defendant from seeing a spouse or children or living in a shared family home. Because the consequences extend beyond criminal prosecution, defendants need a domestic violence lawyer in Maryland who can help to move the domestic violence case forward quickly and effectively within the legal system.
Types of Offenses
Section 4-501 of Maryland’s Family Law statute has a relatively broad definition of domestic violence, encompassing a spectrum of events which may occur between household members or individuals within the same family. Included in this category are transgressions such as:
- Physical assault
- Attempted rape
- Actual rape
- False imprisonment or preventing freedom of movement
- Creation of fear of imminent harm in another
- Physicality producing serious bodily harm
Further, it should be noted that an accused party does not necessarily have to be the spouse of the accuser. The fact is that complaints of this type may be lodged by anyone who is a blood relation, co-habitating partners, those related through marriage or adoption, a natural child, step-parents, a household member or an adult without the necessary mental or physical ability to meet his or her own needs on a daily basis.
Impact of Accusations
When an incident in the home escalates and you are ultimately accused of committing an act of domestic violence, the negative impact on your life can be almost immediate. Pursuant to Family Code Section 4-509, there are occasions in which law enforcement personnel have the ability to arrest individuals accused of domestic violence, even without first obtaining a warrant.
Arresting officers must reasonably believe that a battery occurred and that the accused is likely to cause further injury, engage in evidence tampering or evade arrest. In circumstances such as this, it is incumbent upon the accused to secure the assistance of an aggressive Maryland domestic violence attorney committed to protecting their rights.
One who is accused of domestic violence may also be subjected to protective orders which require them to refrain from contacting or from being in the presence of the accuser or impacted minor children.
Protective orders may prohibit individuals from threatening the accuser, living in a shared home, taking possession of pets, maintaining custody of children and, they may also require the surrender of firearms suspected to have been involved in the incident. Before orders of this type can become final for a period of at least a year, accused individuals must be afforded the opportunity to be heard in court.
These are the times when an experienced lawyer can help mount a vigorous and appropriate defense designed to prevent what can be truly devastating personal outcomes.
Building a Defense
Being found guilty of domestic violence crimes can bring especially onerous consequences, including monetary fines, not to mention terms of incarceration. In addition, criminal records of this type can hinder career advancement, harm child custody arrangements, ruin personal relationships and jeopardize professional licenses.
Therefore, it pays to obtain legal representation aimed at ensuring that all procedural requirements were followed in a given case and that the rights of the accused have been protected every step of the way.
Because there are always two sides to every story, a Maryland domestic violence lawyer will take the time to understand the facts leading up to the event in question and explore every possible line of defense.
Contacting An Attorney
A Maryland domestic violence attorney is familiar with criminal code statutes used to prosecute defendants accused of alleged crimes against family members and intimate partners. With help from an attorney, defendants can develop a strategic and comprehensive approach to fighting charges while protecting their reputation and relationships. To learn more and to get help with your case, call now to speak with an experienced lawyer.