Table of Contents
What is domestic violence?
There are two categories of Domestic Violence (DV) cases in the law. The first involves restraining orders in which a judge must decide whether to prevent people who know each other from having further contact for a specific period of time. They are civil cases and do not carry criminal penalties ( unless someone later violates the court’s order). The other category are criminal cases in which the government charges someone with a crime involving domestic violence. These charges carry criminal penalties, like jail.
DV cases: A family member or intimate partner using violence, threats, emotional abuse, harassment, or stalking to control the behavior of his or her partner are the most common kinds of domestic violence. Touching someone against his or her will, shoving, grabbing, or forcing a person to stay somewhere can all be considered acts of violence. Emotional abuse can involve insults, disallowing contact with family or friends, withholding money, stopping someone from getting or keeping a job, threats of physical harm, or intimidation. Domestic violence can also include violence which causes injuries, a possibility of injury, threats, and protective order violations. Domestic violence also includes the crimes of stalking and harassment.
Some times people are falsely accused of DV actions which they did not commit.
You may be arrested for domestic violence if the police have probable cause to believe you actually committed a crime. People from every walk of life, both men and women, are arrested for domestic violence, and many are not guilty of any crime or do not deserve to suffer the effects of a restraining order having been issued against them.
What are the effects of domestic violence?
Domestic violence wreaks havoc upon families and working lives. The effects of domestic violence are pervasive. Sometimes children are used as pawns in disputes of parents or removed from the home by the Department of Social Services. Often, a spouse may deny that abuse occurs or shift the blame for abusive behavior, which creates emotional problems. Domestic violence brings misery, anxiety, fear, shame, physical and emotional pain, and financial burdens due to missed work, medical bills, and psychological treatment. A domestic violence attorney who knows the law in Maryland and D.C. can help you evaluate your situation and prepare your defense to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction and potential jail time.
Prosecutors in Maryland and Washington D.C. are vigorously pursuing and aggressively prosecuting those accused of domestic violence-related crimes. Domestic violence laws can bring very severe penalties and change your life forever. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you need the aggressive defense and proven approach that a domestic violence lawyer experienced in domestic violence cases will provide.
What is a protective order and how do I get one?
If you feel you are a victim of domestic violence, you can get an order for protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in Maryland. During work hours you can obtain a hearing in either the District Court or Circuit Court and obtain and ex parte Temporary Protective Order which is valid for seven days. After hours and on weekends and holidays the District Court Commissioner may issue an Interim Protective Order that is valid for two business days, after which you have a hearing to be granted a Temporary Protective Order.
What happens after the temporary protective order is granted?
Allegations of domestic violence set off a fairly rapid legal process: Your case will have its final hearing within one week from the time a Temporary Protective Order is granted. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether to issue a final Protective Order that will make it illegal for the alleged abuser to have contact with the complainant, and if appropriate to the case, put the alleged abuser out of the family home, grant custody of the children, set a visitation schedule with the children, and establish emergency family maintenance.
What is the difference between a peace order and a protective order?
Both are orders issued by a judge which prevents a person from committing certain acts against another. A protective order applies to people who are related to each other, are living together, or who have been in a relationship with each other, among others. A peace order applies to other relationships like neighbors, co-workers, friends or acquaintances. The violation of either one could result in criminal charges being filed.
If I am charged with a criminal offense, what will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there if I have a lawyer?
You need to be present at all court dates unless you are excused from attending by the Court. If your first court date is called an “Attorney or Preliminary Inquiry” date, then you can often avoid having to appear once your domestic abuse attorney files papers with the Court advising it that you have retained an attorney.
I was arrested for assaulting my wife but she was upset and says she make a mistake when she called the police. Can she have the domestic violence charges against me dropped?
No, only the State’s Attorney can drop the charges against you. There are good reasons for this policy. A victim of domestic violence often attempts to recant the statement they made to police in order to have the charges dropped against the other party.
What is bail?
Bail money is money paid to the court to guarantee that the person arrested who is released from jail will show up for all required court appearances.
How can someone post my bail?
There are several types of bail in Maryland:
- Cash Bail – The judge permits the person posting the bail to deposit a percentage (usually 10%) with the court. Once the case is concluded the deposit amount is refunded.
- Property Bail – One home or land may used to post bail provide that the person posting the bond possesses sufficient equity in the property to match the bond amount.
- Intangible Assets – includes things like stock certificates, bank books, and certificates of deposit.
- Bail Bondsmen – Bondsman charge a fee usually 10% of the bond set by the judge or commissioner. The fee you pay the bondsman is non-refundable.
Bonds may be posted by anyone provided they are 18 years of age or older.
In which court will my case be handled?
The District Court handles most cases involving motor vehicles, all misdemeanors, and some felonies. The Circuit Court hears felonies, and appeals from the District Court.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
In most cases, a misdemeanor is an offense for which the maximum period of incarceration is one year.
Will my case receive a trial before a judge or a jury?
In Maryland, Defendants have a right to a trial by jury where the maximum period of incarceration is greater than 90 days.
Please note that these answers should not be construed as legal advice in all situations. You should speak with an attorney before making any decisions about your legal matter. These answers are intended only to provide general information.