Maryland Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is violent assault or aggressive behavior that takes place typically between spouses or romantic partners, and can also include family members or roommates. Maryland does not have a separate domestic violence statute in this type of scenario. The defendant in these cases will be charged with second-degree assault or potentially first-degree assault, depending on the nature of what took place and how bad the injuries might be. Because there is no specific statute for domestic violence, the relationship of the parties involved in an assault is the main factor in defining a case as domestic violence.
If you are facing accusations of domestic violence, contact an experienced defense attorney right away to begin your case. It is important to enlist the help of an experienced Maryland domestic violence lawyer as soon as accusations are made because of the vigor the prosecution will approach these cases with.
What to Expect If Accused
If accused of domestic assault in Maryland, one can expect that the case will be handled very aggressively by the prosecutor’s office. Most prosecutors’ offices have a dedicated prosecutor to handle domestic violence cases. In relationships where domestic violence exists, the accuser will oftentimes, after they have been assaulted, reconcile with the defendant and not want to pursue any charges against the defendant.
The prosecutor’s offices are aware of this. Most prosecutor’s offices have modified the way that they handle cases of domestic violence, and have a prosecutor specifically trained to prosecute these cases. It can be very difficult for the person who has been charged in a case with domestic violence elements because of how aggressively the prosecutors tend to react to these charges. Even if the accusation is false and the defendant has done nothing illegal at all, because the case has been defined as domestic violence, it will be handled very aggressively. Some believe that if the accuser says they do not want to pursue damages and would like the case dropped, the case will be immediately thrown away, but that is just not the reality of the way these cases are handled. Regardless of their desires, the states will often insist upon pursuing the case.
Duties of Law Enforcement
In most circumstances, a law enforcement officer cannot make a warrantless arrest for a misdemeanor. Unless a misdemeanor actually occurred in the presence of the officer, the officer typically cannot make an arrest based on one person’s statement that a misdemeanor took place.
There are certainly exceptions to that rule, and one of those exceptions is the officer’s ability to make a warrantless arrest if it is a case involving domestic violence. Usually, whatever took place does not occur in the presence of a police officer, since they will not arrive on site until someone calls 911 and an officer is sent to respond to that location. In a domestic violence case, even though the officer is arriving after the fact, nothing took place in front of that officer. However, the officer can make a warrantless arrest for that misdemeanor.
Role of an Attorney
Finding a Maryland domestic violence attorney who has handled cases of allegations of domestic violence is particularly important. In addition, experience with protective orders and violations of protective orders is also a helpful trait when dealing with domestic violence cases.
The prosecutor often has to find hearsay exceptions that will allow the statements of the alleged victims to come into court because the assumption is that they are either not going to testify or testify as a reluctant witness. This means the prosecutor must look at the case from an evidentiary standpoint to progress.
The accused party needs a domestic violence lawyer in Maryland who is very familiar with the rules of evidence and specifically the rules of hearsay, because those rules are constantly changing. Different appellant cases can modify the rule of hearsay. Because of the aggressive approach prosecutors will tend to take throughout all steps in these cases, working alongside a skilled Maryland domestic violence attorney is critical in protecting the rights of the defendant and ensuring that all appropriate procedures are followed.