Maryland Roommate Violence Lawyer

People who live in the same home, even if there is no personal relationship between them, are considered to have a domestic relationship. Maryland law defines roommate violence as acts of aggression committed between individuals who live in the same home. Like other types of domestic abuse, law enforcement may charge an individual with a misdemeanor second-degree assault for roommate violence. Many concerns surrounding cases with domestic issues apply to situations involving roommate violence, and the criminal penalties can be the same.

There are no enhanced or separate criminal charges that are determined by the nature of the alleged victim’s relationship with the accused. Therefore, someone accused of violence against a roommate can be charged with assault under the criminal statute as opposed to roommate or domestic abuse specifically.

If you are facing allegations of abuse against someone you live with, you should speak with a Maryland roommate violence lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled attorney could build a case in your defense and work to minimize the potential consequences.

Protective Orders and Roommate Violence Charges

The law allows for individuals to seek protective orders when there is some domestic relationship. Someone accused of committing an assault or another sort of violent act against a roommate could be subject to a protective order because of the domestic relationship exists between them as people who live together.

An individual may allege that they have endured domestic violence and need enhanced protections. The process of obtaining a protective order is separate from the criminal process, but it can be considered to run parallel to it.

If a court drops or dismisses a case, or if the jury comes to a not guilty verdict, none of these scenarios would cause a judge. These circumstances also may not guarantee that the accused individual would prevail in hearings regarding the protective order, as there are different standards of proof, factors, and proceedings for these court actions. A Maryland roommate violence attorney could advise an accused individual during these court proceedings if a judge has issued a protective order against them.

Treatment of Roommate Violence Cases

Law enforcement treats accusations of roommate abuse as seriously as domestic violence accusations. Although roommate violence may not be the typical situation that most people envision when they think of domestic abuse, any allegation of assault is taken seriously in Maryland. When violence occurs, and there is a known relationship between the parties, it is an important factor that can garner special attention from law enforcement.

When people live together as roommates, there are increased vulnerabilities. There are concerns about the risk and possible danger posed by the other person, making any allegation or accusation of assault is a serious matter.

The Investigation Process

Law enforcement may investigate allegations of roommate violence similarly to any criminal or assault investigation. Statements made by either party referencing the incident after the fact could be of evidentiary value.  Police may gather statements from the alleged victim to obtain more information about what they claim happened, and they may speak with the accused individual to see if that person agrees with the accusations, disputes them, or if they have any defense or alibi.

Especially in cases involving roommate violence, investigators may inquire after whether or not anyone else lives in the home, if the roommates were friends, or if they had an intimate, romantic, or personal relationship at any point. Investigators also could be interested in the history and context of the relationship, or if there were any witnesses or evidence of an incident.

A Maryland lawyer may use documentary evidence such as cellphone videos or audio recordings in a roommate violence case because it could help determine what happened. If the accused individual sent text messages to the plaintiff apologizing, this information by itself may not be proof that the accused person committed an assault, but it could be something that law enforcement wants to document or use as evidence to support the allegations. Similarly, if the plaintiff communicates via email, text, or social media these conversations may support contradiction in their allegations.

Potential Consequences

The immediate consequences of allegations of roommate violence can be an arrest and the imposition of criminal charges. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but an accused person can be arrested and charged with a criminal case. Once filed, a case may work its way through the court system, and the accused individual could be held in jail until they go to trial.

If law enforcement believes that there are grounds to make an arrest at the time of the incident, the consequences of the original accusation can be immediate and ultimately lead to a criminal conviction, jail time, fines, or other penalties that can come with a conviction of roommate violence.

The long-term consequences of a roommate violence conviction may include that conviction going on their record for the rest of their life. In Maryland, it can be fairly easy to have certain charges expunged, but that process is only available for cases that do not result in a conviction. If someone is convicted of a crime that constitutes roommate violence, they are going to have that conviction on their record for life, which can cause serious consequences.

This information may be available to any potential employer or client, which could have serious professional implications. If an individual wants to pursue any professional licensing or an occupation that involves a background check, this individual’s conviction will be revealed.

Consult a Maryland Roommate Violence Attorney

The consequences for a criminal conviction can be severe and may impact your life for years to come. As a result, if you have been accused of assaulting someone you live with, contact a Maryland roommate violence lawyer for help navigating the criminal court system. Call today and schedule an initial case consultation.

Maryland Roommate Violence Lawyer