Maryland Domestic Violence Consequences
While there are many consequences that go along with even being accused of domestic violence, two common ways penalties manifest in these cases are through protective orders and in child custody disputes. Domestic violence offenses in Maryland can garner issues of protective orders and there may be other consequential impacts on child custody. To better understand the consequences of domestic violence in Maryland you may face, contact a skilled defense attorney who can help you build your defense.
Someone who is alleging an act of domestic violence has the ability to seek a protective order in the state of Maryland. This can be completely unrelated to any criminal case. To get a protective order, there does not have to be any sort of active criminal case or investigation taking place. A person who is alleging domestic violence can secure a protective order 24 hours a day under Maryland law from the commissioner’s office or the court.
A protective order can be a nightmare for a defendant who has not broken the law, because the burden of proof to get a protective order is low. It is one of the lowest burdens within the justice system. A person makes allegations that something violent happened to them and the protective order can prevent the defendant from returning to the other person’s own home. It can prevent the person from going to certain places like the accuser’s place of employment. It is possible that the court will also address issues of custody in a protective order, so it can impact a defendant’s ability to see their child or go to their child’s daycare. A protective order is actually a civil order. However, if an incident is violated it is a criminal offense.
Under Maryland criminal law, if a person has been served with a protective order, it is a valid order, and they violate it, they will be charged with the criminal offense of violating a protective order. If they make contact with the accuser when there is a no contact in place or if they were to go back to the home that they were told that they cannot return, they potentially could be facing the charge of violating the protective order and arrested for that offense.
If they were convicted of that offense, most judges are likely to sentence the person to the maximum because a protective order is an order of the court. It is handed down by a judge and the person does not want to be in front of the judge when the person’s violation is disregarding the order of the judge. The Maryland domestic violence consequences will likely be severe.
Child Custody and Visitation
In a child custody matter, if there is an allegation that one of the parents has been violent towards the other parent, it is something that the court can take into consideration when determining what is in the best interest of that child. Who the child should be living with and what sort of visitation they should have with the other parent are issues that arise in custody disputes, and the presence of domestic violence accusations can heavily hurt a parents chances to have a relationship with their children. There is not necessarily a law regarding child custody or visitation, but it is one of many factors that a court may consider when making a ruling about the custody and visitation rights for a child.
When determining which parent the child should spend the most time with, the court would be a more reluctant to give custody to a parent that has been physically violent towards the other parent. It is important to remember that this consequence of domestic violence in Maryland is determined on a case-by-case basis.
If considering a situation where a marriage was ending, emotions were running high, and there was some incident of an assault, it is not as serious as an allegation that through the course of a marriage there has been domestic violence. The latter scenario has much greater consequences in a child custody case. Even without a pattern of violence established, however, the consequence of not seeing a child as much due to a one-time mistaken incident can be devastating for a parent.