Common Domestic Violence Defenses in Maryland
Following a domestic violence offense, it is important to consult a qualified domestic violence attorney. The penalties and social stigma associated with domestic violence convictions could have life-altering implications for you. That is why you should seek the services of an experienced legal advocate that could examine the facts of your case in order to build your case. Work with a lawyer that could determine which common domestic violence defenses in Maryland could work best for you.
Self-Defense as a Defense Strategy
One of the most common domestic violence defenses in Maryland is the self-defense defense. If a person can prove every element of self-defense, then they would be found not guilty, so it is referred to as an absolute defense. Self-defense is the when a person defends themselves from someone who is acting as the aggressor in a situation, but the law of self-defense is pretty restrictive. In order to be found not guilty on the basis of self-defense, the defendant would have to show that they had a reasonable basis to defend themselves and that they used no more force than was necessary in order to defend themselves. That is pretty fact-specific because the person who is defending himself or herself could actually go too far in how they respond and could actually end up still being guilty of an assault if they use way more force than was necessary to stop them from being assaulted.
Defense of Others as a Defense
Defense of others is another absolute defense that can be raised by a defendant. It is very similar to self-defense in that they have to show that there was someone else who was being assaulted, the defendant had a reasonable basis to believe that that other person was being assaulted and that when they came to the defense of the other person, they used only as much force as was necessary to stop the other person being assaulted. If the defendant is able to prove every element of that defense, then they could be found not guilty.
Importance of Reasonableness When Putting Forth a Defense
It is important to understand that reasonableness plays a huge role in both of these common domestic violence defenses in Maryland. It depends on a subjective reasonable belief that really every reasonable person would have in determining that either they were being assaulted or someone else was being assaulted. In other words, if the belief is unreasonable then those defenses will not apply. For example, if someone is simply walking towards someone and the person responds by just punching them repeatedly, that is probably not going to be considered to be a reasonable response because simply walking towards a person does not imply the threat of assault. It is important to keep in mind that concept of reasonableness when thinking about whether to apply these defenses.
Value of Experience When Defending Domestic Violence Cases
Most laypeople are not going to understand how to apply these defenses to their case. This would involve the use of criminal patterns during instructions. When an attorney is contemplating using a particular defense, it is very important that they research the most recent case law that has defined these offenses. This is all work that the attorneys are very used to doing and if they do a lot of criminal defense work, they should be capable of conducting solid research. However, it is certainly not anything that a layperson should attempt to do by themselves.
Benefit of a Maryland Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, you should pick an attorney who is familiar with the jurisdiction you have been charged in. Some attorneys may be barred in multiple states, but you should try to figure out where your lawyer regularly practices. If an attorney regularly practices in a particular jurisdiction, they have a lot of good information and prior experiences with those particular prosecutors, those particular police officers, and those particular judges, and more than likely they have defended people in that same jurisdiction for domestic violence cases. So, it is very beneficial to look for an attorney who regularly appears in that jurisdiction. Consult a skilled domestic violence lawyer that could use their familiarity with common domestic violence defenses in Maryland to determine which defense strategy may yield a positive outcome for you.