Pre-Trial Release Conditions in Maryland Domestic Violence Cases
If someone has been arrested because they have committed an assault against their spouse or their partner, judges do look at those differently than they do an assault that resulted from a bar fight or people just having some sort of disagreement that for some reason became physical. The courts, the police, and the prosecutors have all received training and continue to receive training about domestic violence, about the nature of those relationships and how dangerous it can be when an alleged victim is attempting to remove themselves from the relationship.
Therefore, a judge looking at someone who has been charged with assaulting their spouse or their girlfriend is going to also feel the necessity to protect the alleged victim from the accused. A qualified domestic violence lawyer could be an invaluable asset in this situation. It is very important for the attorney to make sure that the judge sees the totality of the circumstances. It is important for the judge to also understand that there is a plan for where the defendant is going to live and that pre-trial conditions of release in Maryland domestic violence cases will be followed. If an individual wants to know more about pre-trial conditions, they should consult a distinguished attorney that could answer their questions and advocate for them.
Pre-Trial Conditions a Judge May Set
One of the most common pre-trial release conditions in Maryland domestic violence cases is the no-contact order. No-contact orders entail staying away from wherever the complainant is residing. That could also include not going to the accuser’s place of employment or school. It can be very limiting for the defendant, as far as who they are allowed to have contact with, and where they are allowed to go. Those would be almost automatic conditions that would be imposed on any type of pre-trial release.
What Do No-Contact Orders Entail?
No-contact orders actually can get very complicated for the defendant because they are told not to contact the complainant. Contact includes:
- Phone calls
- Writing emails
- Sending text messages
- Third-party contact with the alleged victim
- Contact via social media
It is laid out pretty clearly for the defendant as to what they cannot do, but there are no similar limitations placed on the complainant. It becomes very complicated when the accused starts attempting to contact the accuser and the accused needs to understand, a person just absolutely cannot respond. A person cannot respond to the text, return the phone call, and cannot reply to the email because all of those will be violations even if it was the alleged victim who reached first.
Usually, as one of the pre-trial release conditions in Maryland domestic violence cases, the defendant cannot contact the accuser’s friends or family, but the accuser’s friends or family could reach out to the defendant. That becomes a little bit more of a gray area and defendants just have to be so careful to make sure that if they are having contact like that, in no way should they try to pass a message to the complainant or get into any kind of conversation about how the case should be handled.
The best way to handle all of these is for the defendant to ask their attorney to deal with things. For example, if there is a no-contact order and yet it is three days before tax returns are due, there are maybe conversations that people need to have and it makes more sense for the attorney to reach out to the alleged victim. In some circumstances, the complainant may have an attorney or the victim may have an advocate and those people can communicate with each other without violating the no-contact provision.
Consequences of Violating a No-Contact Order in Maryland
The first thing that would happen if a person violates the no-contact order is the state attorney can file to revoke that person’s release. That means that the state attorney could file a motion to revoke the bond and there would be a hearing in which the judge would take evidence. If the judge finds that the person did contact the complainant in violation of the no-contact order, then the bail can be revoked and the person would have to remain in jail until their case was resolved. That is the worst consequence, and then of course if that person is later convicted of something, failure to abide by the no-contact order is going to impact the judge’s thoughts when figuring out an accurate sentence because that the person already had a strike against them. The pre-trial release conditions in Maryland domestic violence cases were placed on an individual by the judge, so the sentence is probably going to be harsher than it would have been if the person had simply abided by the conditions.