Ocean City Domestic Violence Lawyer
An accusation that you directed abusive behavior towards a family member can turn your life upside-down in an instant. Even if you have never had any issues with the law before, a domestic violence allegation could leave you subject to a protective order, force you to move into alternate housing, and potentially even lead to losing custody or visitation rights with your children.
It is not impossible to fight back against these kinds of assertions and secure a favorable case resolution, but you should think twice before trying to do so without help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. An Ocean City domestic violence lawyer could provide crucial guidance and support as you seek to challenge any criminal charges you are facing and mitigate the impact that protective orders and similar measures have on your life.
How State Law Approaches Domestic Abuse
According to Maryland Code, Family Law §4-501, the following criminal offenses constitute “domestic violence” if they involve the perpetrator targeting a member of their household or family:
- Sexual assault
- Abuse of a child and/or vulnerable child
- False imprisonment
- Causing or putting someone in imminent fear of serious injury
State law does not classify domestic violence as a distinct criminal offense separate from these aforementioned crimes, so there are no special or enhanced criminal sanctions that courts can levy against individuals accused of abusing a family or household member. However, courts do have the authority to consider domestic violence as a factor when determining what sanctions to pass down following a conviction for the underlying offense.
Furthermore, under Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure §2-204, police officers can arrest someone without a warrant if they have reason to believe that person engaged in domestic abuse based on a report within the past 48 hours, that they caused injury to a family or household member, and that they may cause further injury, destroy evidence, or evade arrest if they are not taken into custody as soon as possible. An Ocean City domestic violence attorney could explain in more detail how state statutes and law enforcement authorities generally deal with these sorts of allegations.
Protective Orders Following Domestic Violence Allegations
Anyone who believes they have been subjected to criminal domestic violence may file a petition for a protective order, which—if instituted by a judge—can prohibit all forms of contact between the protected party and their alleged abuser, including cohabitation in the same residence. Protective orders can also award temporary custody of children and even temporary possession of property and pets to a protected individual.
Regardless of how long a protective order will last or what grounds it is based on, any violation of a protective order’s terms is a misdemeanor offense punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first violation and a maximum jail sentence of one year plus a $2,500 fine for subsequent offenses. In light of that, it is always best to speak with a domestic violence lawyer in Ocean City about legal options first rather than trying to fight a protective order alone.
Consider Working with an Ocean City Domestic Violence Attorney
While domestic violence may not appear on your criminal record in those exact terms, a criminal conviction that is classified as domestic abuse can still have immense repercussions on every aspect of your life. If you are accused of any criminal act against a household or family member, the next steps you take could be key to protecting your future prospects.
A qualified Ocean City domestic violence lawyer could work on your behalf to defend your rights and secure a positive case result. To learn more, call today and schedule a meeting.