Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland

Domestic violence cases typically involve a violent crime or dispute between two parties who are or have previously been in a specific relationship. These people may be family members, spouses, former spouses, or members of the same household. Domestic violence charges may include assault, robbery, harassment, stalking, or other charges.

The nature of the relationship between both parties in a domestic violence case may be central to how defense attorneys and other parties approach it, especially since Maryland does not have a specific domestic violence section in its criminal code. For help understanding domestic charges in Maryland, speak with a skilled attorney.

Types of Domestic Violence

The law may classify domestic violence as a few different charges under the Maryland Code. One such charge may include abuse such as physical assault, actions that cause bodily harm, or any other type of violent attack.

To be accused of domestic violence, the alleged offender does not necessarily have to cause actual bodily harm or any physical contact. If an individual puts someone in fear of imminent bodily harm, that could qualify as criminal assault and therefore constitute abuse under the state code, depending on that individual’s relationship with the alleged victim. For example, if a person points a loaded gun at someone, putting that individual in fear of being shot may constitute abuse even though this person never pulled the trigger or caused bodily harm.

False imprisonment, stalking, and posting intimate pornographic images of someone without their consent may likewise qualify as domestic violence. Rape, attempted rape, or any other abuse that involves another party with whom a defendant is in a domestic relationship with may be charged as household violence.

Penalties

The penalties for a domestic violence charge depend on the specific criminal conduct alleged. For a domestic violence charge that is not considered a serious aggravated felony, the penalties may include conditions of probation or agreements that the defendant engages in specialized counseling for anger management or family or couples’ therapy. A defendant also may be prohibited from contacting the alleged victim completely, or they may only have limited or regulated contact with them.

On the other hand, an act of violence that results in serious injuries may leave the defendant facing first-degree assault charge and potentially 25 years in jail. A domestic violence case involving a murder charge could carry a life sentence.

Overall, household abuse is a relatively broad category that includes many types of cases. Additionally, someone facing criminal charges or a civil order may experience collateral consequences that could affect their employment, education, and social standing because their charges would be on the public record.

Protective Orders and Domestic Violence Cases

A protective order in Maryland is a civil order that, among other functions, can be used to prohibit a defendant from contacting the plaintiff in a domestic violence case. Depending on the specific conditions of a protective order, the methods and regularity of contact allowed between two parties may vary. If someone violates the protective order placed on them, they could be found in contempt in civil court and may face additional penalties, including incarceration.

It is important to mention that violating a protective order is an independent criminal charge. Therefore, an individual could be arrested solely for the misdemeanor criminal charge of violating a protective order. Being aware of any applicable protective orders is an important component of understanding Maryland domestic violence charges.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

Retaining a lawyer when facing a domestic violence charge is important because a defendant may face serious consequences that can have a significant impact on their life in addition to criminal charges. A lawyer could work with a defendant to minimize or avoid these consequences by developing a legal strategy that fights their charges and helps pursue a favorable resolution.

An experienced lawyer could also help with other concerns outside of the courtroom. They may assist with strategizing how to communicate information about a pending case to an employer or work with the media to ensures that public information about the defendant is not one-sided and does not accuse them of being guilty until the court makes that decision. If a legal representative cannot help an accused individual directly with collateral concerns, they may be able to connect them with resources and other organizations that can.

For example, a criminal conviction for domestic violence could impact someone’s immigration status. While a criminal lawyer may not be able to help with immigration issues directly, they can consult with an immigration attorney to ensure the defendant’s immigration concerns are addressed.

Speak with an Attorney to Understand Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland

Because of the importance of understanding domestic violence charges in Maryland, it is advisable to contact a lawyer if you have been charged with household abuse. A legal professional could work with you on your case and work to minimize the penalties you may be facing. To get started on your case, call an attorney today.