Baltimore Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence charges are extremely difficult to defend against for a variety of reasons. A lawyer with local experience knows how the city treats these charges. In Baltimore City, domestic violence is so rampant that prosecutors may pursue a defendant’s charges without taking into consideration whether or not the incident actually happened.

Many purported victims in Baltimore City file retaliatory or false charges to harass someone, or blow out of proportion what did happen. When dealing with a he said, she said trial before a judge or jury, there is a certain type of stigma at play. Allegations of domestic assault are incendiary in a way that other allegations, for example, drug possession, are not, especially when there are injuries, or eyewitnesses who testify on behalf of the victims.

Often, there is very little physical evidence that can refute the allegations of domestic assault. It is important to contact a Baltimore domestic violence lawyer to assist you with these stigmatized allegations.

How These Charges Typically Arise

Domestic violence charges generally occur in one of two ways. The most common is when police are called to a scene and interview witnesses or a victim. The police file a report, file charges, and issue a warrant for the individual’s arrest. Occasionally, officers actually see the domestic violence, but that is uncommon.

The second type of scenario occurs when an incident happens and the person later fills out an application for charges at the Baltimore commissioner’s office. The commissioner takes a statement. After the statement has been taken, the person applying for charges to be filed takes notes on the statements and signs that it is true. The charges are then filed and issued.

Oftentimes, these charges are done by a summons and do not result in a warrant. However, that depends on the nature of the allegations as well as the records particular to the defendant. A Baltimore domestic violence lawyer will work with you to defend against these charges and work towards the best possible outcome.

Penalties

In Maryland, the primary offenses for domestic violence are first-degree assault and second-degree assault. However, frequently there are other secondary charges that may arise, such as violations of protective/peace orders, stalking, harassment, telephone misuse, or other misdemeanors of that variety. 

A second-degree domestic violence assault carries ten years in jail or a $2,500 fine penalty. First-degree domestic violence assault carries up to 25 years of incarceration.

Probation is very likely in domestic violence-related charges because the individuals involved in a domestic violence case will likely continue knowing each other and may live together.

Unlike two strangers involved a bar fight, people in domestic relationships are concerned that there may be a future occurrence of assault. Probation helps the state monitor the individuals to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to, such as staying away from each other, and refraining from violence as a course of action.

Protective Orders

Very frequently, a protective order goes hand-in-hand with a domestic violence case. Unlike a charge of assault, a protective order is a civil action. There is a petitioner, a victim who files a petition for protective order, and a respondent, in this case, the defendant.

A protective order is different than a criminal case. In a criminal case the judge or jury must find that beyond a reasonable doubt, the person actually committed the offense. In a protective order, the burden of proof is called a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not whoever the judge believes more wins. The person who has more credibility often matters more. A domestic assault attorney in Baltimore can work to protect you from this suit. Restraining orders are similar, except they typically have a lower burden of proof.

A protective order is only given if you are related by blood or marriage, or the person is someone you have cohabited with or had a relationship within the past year. If the person filing for a protective order does not fit one of these categories, such as neighbors or coworkers, they file for peace ordersA protective order is more serious than a peace order.

The protective order may be in place up to one year in length and could force somebody to vacate a residence, have no contact, and relinquish any firearms they own. Someone could be found not guilty of a criminal case and still have a protective order entered against them.

The petitioner, who is usually the victim in the criminal case, must go to the commissioner’s office to file the petition. The police do not get involved. Because it is not a criminal case, an individual is not entitled to a public defender, meaning if they want an attorney, they must hire one.

Benefits of an Attorney

An experienced local attorney understands the huge impact domestic violence charges may have on a defendant’s personal and professional life. By hiring an experienced attorney from the beginning, they are able to construct the best possible defense for your case and its specific circumstances.