Maryland Domestic Violence Penalties
If you are facing charges, it is important to know the potential Maryland domestic violence penalties. Work with an experienced attorney to build a strong defense. With a qualified lawyer by your side, you will have someone to guide and advise you every step of the way as you build a defense and work to mitigate any potential damages.
The penalties depend on the assault charges. The most common form of domestic violence is when someone assaults another person. In that case, should the accused be found guilty, the maximum penalty is 10 years in jail on an assault in the second degree.
In an assault in the first degree, it is 25 years. This type of assault is viewed more harshly because it tends to be more severe. For example, if the person hits someone and breaks a bone, or the person falls, hits their head, and is in a coma, those are scenarios where someone could be charged with a felony assault of the first degree.
Long Term Consequences
One long-term consequence of domestic violence convictions in Maryland is that the public labels the person an abuser. In general, people do not want a person convicted of domestic violence in their workplace or neighborhood. Often, companies will not hire someone convicted of domestic violence to work for them and may have concerns that the person might bring violence into their place of work.
Because of the social stigma and employment challenges a conviction could cause, it is especially important to do everything possible to reduce the charges and mitigate the damages, which is where retaining the services of an experienced attorney is especially helpful.
Aggravating factors to a charge can include a number of details related to the nature of the alleged attack, such as:
- Strain injuries
- Permanent injuries
- Broken bones
- Hospital stays
- Medical treatment
- Disabilities from being injured
Aggravating factors have a dramatic impact on how a judge determines the sentence, usually leading to penalty enhancements.
Penalty enhancements are facts and situations present in the case that permit the sentencing judge to increase the usual sentence. These factors are associated with prior offenses as well as the nature of the offense and conduct. The state’s attorney can request extended periods of time in jail.
The district court deals with maximum penalties no differently than the circuit court. In circuit court, if the person is found guilty or the person takes a plea, there are sentencing guidelines. Prior offenses and the types of offenses are considered when the judge determines the sentence.
Law enforcement officers in domestic matters sometimes use a lethality assessment and report to evaluate the risk of lethal level violence so they can refer the victim to assistance programs in the community. A picture of someone with a heavily bruised face and a broken bone, or someone in a hospital bed can result in a penalty enhancement.
How An Attorney Can Help
Anyone charged with domestic violence should contact a domestic violence lawyer because judges have a tendency to see the domestic label and treat these cases much more harshly than a general assault. That is especially true when the victim is an intimate partner, a spouse, child, or vulnerable adult.
Some judges see domestic and the person can get a weekend in jail at a minimum and more from the very beginning. Overall, the process of contesting the charges and fighting back in court can be overwhelming and difficult. Because of this, it is essential to have the help of a local attorney with extensive experience defending these types of cases, who can help you understand the Maryland domestic violence penalties as well as work to reduce those you may face.