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La Plata & Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Charles County Criminal Defense Firm Hablamos Español 301-259-3488

What You Need to Know if You’re Charged With Domestic Violence

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence or you suspect that someone might be planning to make an accusation against you, the first thing you should do is visit a criminal law office in Waldorf MD. Consult a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Your criminal attorney can answer any questions you may have, such as understanding the specific charges against you, complying with a protective order, and evaluating the penalties you may face if convicted.

Defining Domestic Violence

You can be charged with domestic violence because of a broad range of accusations. Domestic violence encompasses acts or the threat of acts between family members or individuals who share the same household. Domestic violence includes offenses such as assault or any other act that inflicts serious bodily harm. It also includes rape or other sexual offenses, and attempted rape or other attempted sexual offenses. You could be charged with domestic violence for stalking or for false imprisonment. Police officers may also charge an individual with domestic violence if the accuser claimed that the defendant caused him or her to have fear of serious harm.

Understanding Protective Orders

An individual who is the alleged victim of domestic violence may request a protective order from the court. If you’ve been served with a protective order, it’s a good idea to show the document to your criminal lawyer. He or she will review it and advise you as to how to stay in compliance with the order. Violating the order can lead to additional criminal charges. Generally, protective orders demand that the defendant stop abusing the victim, avoid contact with the victim, and stay out of the victim’s home or leave a shared residence. A protective order might also award the accuser temporary custody of any shared children.

Identifying Potential Penalties

Under Maryland law, the penalties a judge can issue upon conviction can vary widely. Maryland judges have wide discretion in handing down penalties. They consider the unique circumstances of the case, such as the severity of the injuries and whether violence was directed at children. If the defendant has also been charged with violating an order of protection, it is considered a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

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