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Differences Between Assault and Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland

Should you be facing either charges or both, an experienced lawyer can help you understand the differences between assault and domestic violence in Maryland. Having a thorough understanding of the exact charges will allow you and your attorney to build the strongest defense possible given the particulars of the case.

Maryland Definitions

Assault is a harmful or offensive unconsented-to contact, including putting somebody in fear of apprehension of a harmful or offensive, unconsented-to contact. For example, if a person throws something at somebody else’s head and misses them but they thought the person was going to hit them and it looked like it was, it is an assault.

Domestic violence is assault or any type of other act against a person who the accused is related to, living with, or someone close in their life, as opposed to a stranger or an acquaintance. There is no additional charge if a person punches a stranger as opposed to punching someone they know, lives with, or is related to.

How are Assault and Domestic Violence Treated Differently in Maryland?

Assault between strangers or individual claimants is handled differently than someone that they are related to or close to a family. The reason is, if someone has a fight with the person next to them, they are never going to see that person again or it is highly unlikely they will. It is just a person and they can go their separate ways. There is no reason for them to see each other.

The problem with domestic violence is that it involves two individuals who, once the court procedures are done, have to go back to living together, seeing each other regularly, or having an interaction. Even if they do not want to be together, if they have a child in common they may be obligated to do so.

Because of that, it is a much more delicate and specific situation when the individuals cannot separate and go on to never see each other again. Additionally, judges and prosecutors will often consider family counseling classes so the two can eventually get along better.

Defense Strategies

One difference between assault and domestic violence charges in Maryland in the defense strategy used, depending on the details of the case, is that an attorney may speak to the plaintiff a little differently to see if there is any loyalty they may have to the defendant and what their wishes are.

Oftentimes, there are overarching relationships, issues, and history that are not a part of an assault between two people who do not know each other. That approach can be used in order to steer the case toward some of the things a judge may require, such as counseling.

Potential Penalties

When dealing with assault charges with the average stranger, the court imposes a punishment at its own discretion. The penalties are assigned based on the person’s record, their history, and the nature of the offense.

With domestic violence, the two parties must have known each other. Because of the increased level of familiarity, there may be an alteration to the punishment.

Oftentimes there is an overarching need to make sure these two individuals can play nice, because the last thing wanted is to see the two of them again in court on opposite sides of the table.

What Are the Long Term Consequences of Violent Crimes?

When dealing with assault charges in general, it is a crime of violence that is put on a criminal record. A person could be put on probation as far as long term consequences. When it is domestic violence-related, the problem is if something happens again in the future, particularly with the same party within the family, the judges are going to come down a lot harder.

There are still all the other factors– the record, the history– but it is going to be seen a lot more harshly if something happens again to the same person.

How An Attorney Can Help

Facing charges can be intimidating and overwhelming. Working with an experienced defense lawyer will give you the chance to better understand the difference between assault and domestic violence in Maryland, thus allowing you to tailor your defense. In doing so, your attorney can help you work toward mitigating the damages and achieving the best outcome possible.