Attention: If you or a loved one is the victim of domestic violence, you should know that you have options. You can call the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-MD-HELPS during normal business hours or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24-7 for immediate, confidential assistance.
Domestic violence is a very serious crime involving acts or threats of violence against one's spouse, children, or other individuals sharing a domicile. Maryland criminal code doesn’t include specific laws for domestic violence between current or former spouses and other family members. However, the protection order laws in the Maryland Family Law Code define domestic abuse as an assault, rape, stalking, and other such offenses that occur between family or household members.
Therefore, if a person were to assault, rape, or commit any other crime against his or her current or former romantic partner, the crime charged and potential penalty assessed could be the same as if the crime were committed against a stranger. However, additional charges would be filed if child abuse or violations of a protective order occurred as well.
Maryland Domestic Violence Laws at a Glance
|Statutory Definition of Abuse||
Abuse means any of the following acts:
|Penalties and Sentencing||
|How to File for a Protective Order||
|Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges||
Note: State laws may change either through the passage of new legislation, the issuance of appellate court decisions, or through other means. Make sure you contact a criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Protective Orders in Maryland
Victims of domestic violence can seek a protection order from the court requiring the abuser to stay away from them. If a victim isn’t eligible for a protection order because he or she isn’t in the legally specified form of marriage, dating, or family relationship required for one, the victim can request a “peace order.”
Police officers can arrest a person without a warrant if the officer believes the person is violating a protection order. If the abuser violates this protection order or peace order, there can be criminal consequences, including imprisonment or a fine. For example, failure to comply with a protection order can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense or up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500 for a second or subsequent offense.
Get a Free Legal Evaluation of Your Domestic Violence Case
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you should know that you have legal options. If you have been charged with a crime related to domestic violence, whether it's assault or something else entirely, you will want legal representation. Get started today with a free legal evaluation of your case by a Maryland criminal defense attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.