Howard County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is not exactly a charge itself, it is a category of charges. It deals with individuals who are in a domestic relationship. It does not have to be a boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife relationship, but it could be siblings as well or someone who is a close friend, family member, or roommate. People who are accused of domestic violence in Howard County generally see a second-degree assault charge or a violation of their protective order charge. These are seen most often in domestic violence cases.

Typically speaking, although there are variations, there will be a charge of second-degree assault. It is a misdemeanor but it can carry upwards of ten years incarceration and/or a significant $2,500-fine. There could be other charges such as reckless endangerment, threats, as well as stalking, harassment, and telephone misuse. There is a multitude of charges that can accompany a domestic violence charge but typically it will involve a second-degree assault charge. If someone is facing these charges, it is recommended they speak with a skilled criminal lawyer. A Howard County domestic violence lawyer can work hard to defend their client.

Domestic violence occurs when two individuals are frequently getting into an altercation. By the time police arrive, typically, the two have calmed down and tempers have dissipated. The police have to be very careful because when or if they leave, the altercation might start up again.

Typically speaking, the police will arrest one or both of the individuals depending on the circumstances or, at the very least, they will tell an individual to leave if the altercation has not resulted in physical violence or anything they can see. Most of the time, one individual, at the very least, is arrested.

One tricky part of domestic violence cases, unlike a lot of other cases, is if someone is caught stealing or engaging in possession of drugs. Whether they are released or not, they will be told to leave the premises, and the drugs will be seized.

Treatment of the Defendant During an Investigation

If under investigation for domestic violence in Howard County, they are treated as if they had already been convicted. From the beginning, they could be told they cannot return their home, have, contact with the other party, nor see their children.

It is very possible that they will be on supervision before they go into trial which is called pre-trial supervision. Since domestic violence is such a serious crime, following the right protocols during an investigation is extremely important.

Protective Orders

In Howard County, there are two orders that can be filed and sought, a protective order or peace order. Howard County domestic violence lawyers often see cases dealing with protective orders. A protective order is a civil action, it is not criminal. It is a civil petition that is filed against a person that someone is related to by either blood, marriage, or has cohabited with and lived with within the previous year and might have been involved in a sexual relationship with.

To file for a protective order, the relationship between the parties has to fit under those categories. Otherwise, it is a peace order, which is not quite as strong and is for a shorter duration. A protective order is a filing that carries up to a year where if a person receives one, they cannot abuse the person, stalk, harass or even contact that person who filed, in some situations.

Even though it is a civil action, a violation of a protective order is a criminal charge and can cause somebody to be arrested. A violation of a protective order can lead to (and usually does) an arrest.

Laws Involving Children

When dealing with custody or a protective order – even if the children are not the subject of the protective order – a protective order, if sought and obtained, can include use of a residence and it could be used for addressing custody, where the children go if the judge feels that it is safer as well, considering the context. A judge could also order emergency family maintenance, which is a kind of a child support while a protective order is in place.

Generally speaking, when a protective order is put into place, most of the time, there is no custody or visitation in place when the protective order is sought. A protective order’s instructions or limitations are only temporary and expire upon expiration of the protective order itself or they are superseded by an order of child custody or child support by a court in a formal custody proceeding, which is more of a permanent structure.

Working with an Attorney

There will not be a general prosecutor, as someone would for a typical charge unless it is domestically-related, then special prosecutors in their own division that handle these types of cases going forward. Only an attorney who has handled these types of matters on a regular basis will have the ideal relationships with prosecutors and judges that give them the insight on how to react, what to ask for, what not to ask for, what steps to take, or pitfalls to avoid. In fact, Howard County has a special division dedicated to the prosecutor’s office, which focuses on domestic violence cases only. A Howard County domestic violence attorney can best handle preparation to deal with local prosecution.