Bowie and Crofton Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Representing those charged with domestic abuse throughout the state
Domestic violence, or domestic abuse, describes violent acts between members of a family or a common household. Domestic violence charges can have serious consequences in the life of the accused. The penalties for a domestic violence charge will vary according to the circumstances of the incident.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, Carey Law Office is here to advise you and protect your rights. Any type of criminal record can seriously affect your future goals, but domestic violence charges in particular carry a stigma that will follow you throughout your life. We are here to help you to understand the potential penalties for domestic abuse charges, and to do whatever is necessary to reduce those charges on your behalf.
What are domestic abuse offenses?
Acts perpetrated between members of the same family or household can be considered domestic abuse. These include:
- Child abuse
- Rape, attempted rape, or other sex crimes
- Abuse of a vulnerable adult
- An act that causes serious bodily harm
- An act that causes a person to fear imminent serious bodily harm
- False imprisonment
The “domestic violence” designation is really about who accused whom. For example, if Person A accused Person B of raping her, then Person B may be charged with a felony sex crime. If, however, Person A and Person B are related, or fit any of the descriptions below, then the courts consider it domestic abuse. There are no specific charges for domestic violence, but there are additional steps that the courts may take to protect the person being abused, and his or her family members.
Dealing with protective orders and peace orders
A protective order is a civil order that a judge issues to order a person to stop committing actions against another. You can file a request with the court for a protective order if you two:
- Are current or former spouses
- Have lived together in an intimate relationship for at least 90 days during the past year
- Are related by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Are in a parent-child, stepparent-stepchild relationship and have lived together for at least 90 days during the past year
- Are in a caretaker-vulnerable adult relationship
- Have a child together
- Have had a sexual relationship within one year before filing the petition (Maryland Courts)
A peace order is generally the same as a protective order in that is protects a person from another person; you can file a peace order against someone who does not fit the requirements for a protective order (for example, a neighbor or even a stranger), and who is at least 18 years old at the time of the abuse. A peace order can also cover destruction of property, harassment, and trespassing.
If you have a protective order or peace order filed against you, it is critical that you do not violate the terms of that order. Let our team handle the process of having that restraining order pulled or dismissed. If the order remains in place, remember that it is a lawful document; if you violate the terms of the order, you can be jailed, forced to pay fines, or face other consequences. Your actions can, and almost certainly will, be used as evidence against you during a hearing, so abide by the rules and let us do our jobs to help you.
What are the consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Maryland?
If a person is convicted of domestic abuse he or she can face serious penalties, including up to 25 years of jail time in cases of first-degree assault in which the victim suffers serious injuries. Lesser offenses will have less severe penalties, shorter jail terms and lesser fines. The consequences he or she faces in life will not be diminished. A person accused of felony violence such as first-degree assault can still lose his or her right to own a firearm, qualify for federal financial aid or professional licenses, and/or retain a professional license or security clearance already held.
The do’s and don’ts of domestic abuse charges
If someone has accused you of domestic violence, or if the police have been called to your home or place of business:
- DO exercise your right to remain silent.
- DO ask to speak with an attorney.
- DO be polite to the police when they show up, as any efforts to passionately plead your case can be used against you, and can come across as though you are resisting arrest.
- DO NOT apologize or admit any fault.
- DO NOT allow law enforcement to search your home, your job, or your vehicle without a warrant.
- DO NOT attempt to contact your accuser in any way: not through texting, calling, social media, or through other people.
The mere allegation of domestic violence can have severely adverse consequences in the life of the accused. Not only can a conviction cost you thousands of dollars in fines and years in jail, but just the slightest whiff of domestic violence can be enough to permanently mar your reputation. You need an advocate who can make sure that your rights are protected and that you do not say anything to incriminate yourself.
Where to find help if you are experiencing domestic abuse
Maryland law provides protection for those who are being abused in their own home by family or other household members in the form of protective orders. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (that’s 1-800-799-7233) 24 hours a day. Their TTY number for hearing-impaired persons is 1-800-787-3224. You can also contact the Anne Arundel County Domestic Violence Program Hotline at 410-222-6800.
Why do I need a Bowie domestic violence lawyer’s help?
There are a number of defense options available to you if you are facing charges stemming from domestic abuse accusations. Very often, the spouse or person who initially made the accusation will retract his or her statement, or claim he or she does not wish to press charges. In some cases, the person making the claim will exercise spousal privilege, the right of the accuser to not testify against the alleged abuser. Still, the prosecutor may wish to pursue the case, based on other information (such as a 9-1-1 tape, for example), or on supposed evidence of another crime committed at the time.
Our role is to protect your rights throughout the entire judicial process because you have the right to counsel and a defense, regardless of the circumstances of your case. With Carey Law Office, you can have peace of mind knowing your case is in the right hands; we have helped clients safeguard their reputations and freedom for nearly four decades, doing everything in our power to dismiss or diminish the severity of the charges against them. Our goal is to help you overcome this setback and get you back to the life you want to lead.
Upholding the rights of those accused of domestic violence
Whether you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, or you have experienced domestic abuse, Joseph Carey of Carey Law Office in Bowie and Crofton is here to help you. For nearly four decades, we have served the legal needs of our community. You are encouraged to call 301-464-2500 or fill out this contact form to learn more about our services.