Maryland Spousal Abuse Lawyer
While there is no law dedicated solely to spousal abuse in Maryland, abusing a spouse adds the elements of domestic violence to a case, which changes the penalties associated with it. If one spouse assaults the other, the person would be charged with assault.
Because of the nature of these cases, they are prosecuted more vigorously than other assault cases. This makes enlisting the help of an experienced abuse defense lawyer from the onset of these cases crucial when working to protect the rights of the defendant and make it more difficult for the prosecution to build a case. A Maryland spousal abuse lawyer can help to build a defense early on.
Defining Spousal Abuse
Spousal abuse and domestic violence classifications go hand-in-hand as they pertain to assault charges. In Maryland, a person would not be charged with a violation of spousal abuse or domestic violence, even though the penalties for the assault charge that would be given differ from standard misdemeanor assault. A lot of times in a domestic relationship there is one party who is being emotionally or physically abusive to the other. If it is physical abuse, then they could be charged with assault.
Vulnerable Adult Abuse
Maryland has statues that have to do with abusing or neglecting a vulnerable adult. If a person has an adult (or spouse in this situation) that is considered to be vulnerable, the classification of vulnerability is based upon reduced physical capacity or mental capacity. They cannot provide for their own daily needs anymore. If that person is being neglected or abused by their spouse, the spouse can be charged with abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult.
That charge is seen especially when there are two people and one spouse has declined in health or in mental capacity and the other spouse now has to take on this role of being the caregiver, supervising this adult. Unfortunately, sometimes people get very frustrated, which can lead to some becoming physically and emotionally exhausted and doing something that is abusive towards the other person.
What Happens If Accused
If someone is accused of being abusive or violent towards their spouse, one can expect the prosecution of that case to be aggressive. The prosecutor is trained and experienced in figuring out how to prosecute this case, even when the victim may no longer want to pursue prosecution. To build a case against the defendant, the prosecution will call any witnesses or any law enforcement that arrive after the fact to keep the case in progress. Most people are probably aware of what is called their spousal privilege.It is important for somebody charged with any sort of assault to be prepared that it can very well end up going to trial.
Many people are under the misconception that if the victim says they do not want to go forward then the case gets dropped. The parties may have reconciled and everything is resolved between the two of them and yet this criminal case is still open. Regardless of whether or not they have reconciled, the prosecutor may still intend to pursue the case.
What The Accused Should Expect
If accused of violence against a spouse, one can expect that they would be charged with criminal violation of second-degree assault or first-degree assault. Regardless of whether or not they have reconciled with their spouse, the state is probably going to pursue that case assuming the evidence in hand at the time supports moving forward.
In Maryland, a person cannot be compelled to testify against their own spouse. If it is a criminal case where the defendant has been charged with assaulting that spouse, they still have the right to claim the spousal privilege. In Maryland, they are only allowed to do that one time. The defendant may be under the belief that all that needs to happen is their spouse just needs to invoke for spousal privilege and this case will be dismissed. The reality is that the prosecutor does not care if the victim decides to utilize their privilege. If they have a way to prove it without that testimony, they will do that. They have been trained in the rules of absence and hearsay that allow them to introduce other evidence and move forward, even if the spouse wants to invoke their privilege.
Contact an Attorney
It is important to consult with an attorney familiar with the unique characteristics of a spousal abuse case. When defending someone in a domestic violence case or spousal abuse case, a Maryland spousal abuse attorney can answer questions that arise throughout a case. There may be instances where they know the prosecution does not have the foundation needed to take certain actions, or the prosecution attempts to introduce statements through hearsay, and a spousal abuse lawyer in Maryland with prosecution experience will be better prepared with an argument or objection against the prosecution.