What to Expect After a Domestic Violence Charge in Maryland

Someone accused of domestic violence should expect a substantial legal process, since it is a charge that requires a sound defense and cannot be made to disappear simply by paying a fine. An alleged offender may have to go to trial to fight the charges and may have to accept an agreement to resolve the case. Depending on the nature of the accusations, the severity of the alleged conduct, and the context in which the incident occurred, a defendant could be facing extremely serious consequences.

In Maryland, domestic violence may be classified as second-degree assault, which is the lowest misdemeanor form of assault. However, this offense still carries a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Additionally, an accused individual may face criminal charges in addition to a civil lawsuit.

In either circumstance, the accused may consent to the charge or challenge it and have a hearing in front of a judge.  If you have been accused of household abuse, a skilled defense attorney could help you prepare for court and further explain what to expect after a domestic violence charge in Maryland.

An Arrest for Household Violence

If a law enforcement officer sees evidence or visible marks of violence and suspects household abuse, often the officer will claim they must make an arrest and charge the alleged offender under those circumstances.  While the law does direct officers to make arrests in certain situations, an officer always retains his or her own discretion. In some cases, the police may arrest both parties if the situation suggests that both individuals acted with violence.

However, even though law enforcement must make an arrest at the time of the incident, this does not mean that the case cannot be dismissed at a later time and it does not influence the proceeding of the case. Therefore, after an arrest, there may be no further conditions on the case.

The individual is still innocent until proven guilty, and there is no change to the burden of proof against them, nor is there any enhanced evidence against the accused. An experienced attorney could help an accused individual understand what to expect after a domestic violence arrest in Maryland.

How a Person’s Life May Change After a Domestic Violence Allegation

Someone’s life can change in many ways after being accused of household abuse. In the immediate future, this person may deal with the consequences of the accusation. For instance, someone facing criminal domestic violence charges could be incarcerated until they pay bond if a judge deems them to be a threat.

An accused individual with a pending court date may have to compile important legal documents, organize evidence, and develop a defense strategy to avoid extended incarceration. This process may take a considerable amount of preparation and may be difficult to handle without legal representation.

In addition to navigating the complex legal process, an accused individual may face significant social stigma and collateral consequences associated with this allegation. A domestic violence accusation could have an immediate impact on how someone’s colleagues, friends, and family view them, as could dealing with a protective order after a domestic violence charge.

Even when a court dismisses a case, this allegation creates a stigma that is difficult to overcome. It may require great effort and time for someone charged with household abuse to overcome the impact that this allegation had on their reputation.

Protective Orders

When someone accuses an individual of domestic violence, the potential legal consequences depend on the steps taken by the alleged victim. The accuser may seek a civil protective order that regulates their contact with the alleged offender. In some situations, all forms of contact and communication between the two parties may be prohibited.

However, in other circumstances, a defendant may contact the other party as long as their contact is lawful and nonviolent. If a defendant violates the conditions of a protective order by reaching out to an alleged victim, they may face severe criminal consequences.

Child Custody and Visitation Rights

A charge of domestic violence may become a factor in any decision regarding someone’s child custody or visitation rights. If convicted, the law allows a court to deny custody or visitation based on the likelihood of abuse or neglect. If law enforcement charges a parent with abuse or violence against their child or another child, this may also become a significant factor in a decision related to custody.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss What to Expect After a Maryland Domestic Violence Charge

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you should contact a diligent attorney immediately. It is important to know what to expect after a domestic violence charge in Maryland, and a lawyer could help prepare you for the complex process ahead. To schedule a case consultation, call today.