Silver Spring Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been accused of domestic violence, a Silver Spring domestic violence lawyer can help you evaluate your situation and determine what your next steps should be. Because of the serious nature of domestic violence charges, it is in your best interest to let an experienced lawyer handle your case. Before answering questions or speaking to anyone, contact an attorney in order to make sure your rights are protected and your case receives the attention it deserves.
Domestic Violence Charges in Silver Spring, Maryland
Disagreements between spouses, dating couples, and roommates occasionally become loud and disruptive. If neighbors or passersby call the police to report a domestic violence disturbance, charges may be filed, based on very little evidence, for any of the following:
- An action that causes someone to fear bodily harm
- Infliction of bodily harm
- Sexual offenses
- An attempted rape or sexual offense
- Kidnapping or preventing a person from leaving his or her home
Whether or not you are guilty of the charges, your words can be used against you in a court of law. You could be facing serious consequences, including hefty fines, restraining orders, and jail time. Even if charges have not yet been filed, a Silver Spring domestic violence lawyer can help you assess the nature of your situation in order to determine what further steps need to be taken.
What Domestic Violence Charges Look Like
In the state of Maryland, the penalties associated with domestic violence charges may vary based on the circumstances surrounding the case:
- First Degree Domestic Violence – If you are convicted of inflicting serious personal injury on an individual, you could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in a state prison. There may also be sentences of community service, probation, fines, and restraining orders.
- Second Degree Domestic Violence – A charge of second degree domestic violence means that the injury was not as severe. It is considered a misdemeanor with a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Domestic Violence Against a Minor – This charge indicates severe or fatal injuries to a child in your care or your own child. It may be classified as first-degree child abuse with a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. If the injuries are not substantial, then the charge could be considered second-degree child abuse with a prison term of 15 years.
It is not uncommon for false charges to be filed against one parent during family disputes. If you have been charged with domestic violence or believe you are being investigated , you need the counsel of an experienced Silver Spring domestic violence lawyer in order to plan a strategic approach to your defense.
A domestic violence conviction may result in a restraining order. In Maryland, there are three primary types of restraining orders that will limit the respondent’s ability to contact the initiator.
- Temporary Protective Order—A temporary protective order is designed to limit contact between parties after an initial hearing, whether or not the respondent attended. Once the order has been served, it remains in place for seven days
- Final Protective Order—A final protective order may be issued once the respondent has an opportunity to appear in court and present his or her case before the judge. Among other restrictions, this type of order will prohibit the possession of firearms and may award jointly owned vehicles to the petitioner.
- Interim Protective Order—An interim order can be issued if the court believes it has reasonable grounds. It remains in effect for a maximum of two business days, or until a hearing takes place.
Restraining orders are designed to prevent the respondent from having any contact with the petitioner. They can prohibit access to a home (even a shared home), workplace, or school, and may award custody of children or pets to the petitioner. It is a crime to violate a protective order.
What to Do Once You Have Been Charged
Because of their extremely sensitive nature, domestic violence charges are often difficult to deal with. With emotions running high, mistakes can easily be made and they may not be reversible. That’s why it’s important that you not attempt any kind of defense until you have spoken with an attorney. If you believe your spouse or significant other is going to accuse you or has already filed charges, then your first step should be to call a Silver Spring domestic violence lawyer. If you have children it is especially important, because you could lose access to them if you are convicted.
An experienced domestic violence attorney will help you understand the charges that have been filed and the accusations that have been made; help you gather evidence to support your case; and defend you aggressively in a court of law. Maryland courts have significant latitude in determining what the penalty for domestic violence will be. The skill of your Silver Spring domestic violence lawyer can make a big difference in how the case turns out. Call our office today for your free consultation.