Montgomery County Domestic Violence Lawyer
In Montgomery County, domestic abuse is not defined under one statute. You can be charged with one or several offenses in the county when abuse is alleged between household or family members. Maryland prosecutors take domestic abuse seriously and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
A minor incident between you and your spouse or sibling can still result in a domestic violence charge, even if there is no physical contact. If you have been charged with domestic violence in MoCo, contact an experienced Montgomery County domestic violence lawyer for a consultation.
Types of Domestic Violence Charges in MoCo
The following are potential charges you could face when accused of domestic violence:
Assault in the first degree (Section 3-202) is intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another individual. This assault definition includes using a firearm. Serious physical injury means trying to cause bodily injury or death.
Assault in the second degree, which falls under Section 3-203 is similar to the above statute. Physical injury includes minor scrapes or cuts.
Other crimes in Montgomery County that are considered as domestic abuse include:
Under Section 3-802, malicious conduct involves pursuing or approaching another person where they intend to place that person in fear and is considered a serious crime. It also includes contact that places the individual in reasonable fear of:
- Assault in any degree
- Seriously bodily injury
- False imprisonment
There are two degrees of seriousness for a charge of rape. Rape in the first degree (Section 3-303) involves vaginal intercourse by threat of harm or force without consent. Rape may also involve the use of a dangerous weapon. Rape in the second degree is listed under Section 3-304. It has the same definition as rape in the first degree; however, the alleged victim is a minor or mentally or physically incapable of giving consent.
In addition to criminal law statutes that fall under domestic violence, a judge may issue a protective order, commonly called a restraining order, under the state’s family law section 4-508.1. This is a civil order that prevents you from talking to or following the alleged victim. For example, a judge can order that you:
- Stay away from your own home
- Stay away from certain members of your household, including your children
Domestic Violence Penalties in Montgomery County
If you are convicted of any domestic violence charges, you could face some tough fines and/or jail and prison sentences. That is why it is so important to consult a MoCo domestic violence lawyer. A conviction can result in serious ramifications, especially if it goes on your permanent criminal record. Penalties for domestic violence include:
- Up to 25 years in prison for assault in the first degree
- Up to 10 years in prison for assault in the second degree. In addition, there is the possibility of a $5,000 fine
The penalty for violating a protective order is a jail sentence. It does not matter if the victim under protection called or visited you, you could still be found guilty of the violation. Punishment consists of:
- 90 days in jail for a first offense
- Up to one year in jail for a second offense
Prosecutors do not dismiss domestic violence-related charges lightly, even when there is little to no evidence. However, with the assistance of an experienced MoCo domestic violence lawyer, you have a better chance of avoiding jail time.
Potential Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
You have the right to defend yourself against any domestic violence allegations. In fact, a strong domestic violence defense could mean the difference between jail or prison time and protecting your freedom and reputation. Your domestic violence lawyer will help build your case based on the facts.
The following are some defenses available to you:
- Wrong suspect
You are being wrongly accused of domestic violence. Maybe your spouse has a significant other who actually committed the offense but they want to blame you instead.
- False allegations
Your accuser is lying for some reason. He or she may dislike you or want to retaliate for some reason. Domestic violence allegations often arise amidst heated child custody cases and divorce proceedings.
You were protecting yourself, which you have the right to do under Maryland law. Maybe the altercation began with raised voices but escalated when he or she tried or did hit you. The law allows you to use reasonable force to protect yourself or another party.
- Lack of proof
This defense challenges the prosecutor’s evidence. It involves your MoCo domestic violence lawyer showing a judge that a prosecutor does not have enough solid evidence for a conviction.
This is a rarely used defense. It refers to admitting that some actions happened between you and the other party, but proving that he or she consented. An example of this could be if you and the alleged victim were pretending to fight. The individual consented to being hit, but thinks you hit him or her too hard.
Domestic violence is a serious matter. Unproved allegations can damage your reputation and your career. It is vital to speak to a Montgomery County domestic violence lawyer to protect your rights and your future.