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How is domestic violence defined by Maryland Courts?

It's inevitable that family members are going to have arguments and disagreements from time to time. Many people are able to express their opinions by calmly using their words, but when arguments get heated and family members use physical force to assert their opinions, those family members may find themselves in trouble with the legal system. Being charged with a crime can be a scary time in a person's life, and domestic violence charges should not be taken lightly.

It's important to understand the wide range of behaviors associated with domestic violence. According to the Maryland Courts, domestic violence is a form of abuse that occurs between family members, or people that live under the same roof. Different types of abuse include sexual offenses, attempted sexual offenses, assault, stalking and any action that results in a person hearing for his or her safety. False imprisonment, which is when a person is no longer free to leave his or her own home, or has been kidnapped, is also classified as domestic violence.

In addition to sexual abuse and physical abuse, domestic violence can also take the form of emotional and economic abuse. Emotional abuse occurs when a person's self-esteem sense of self-worth is degraded. Economic abuse occurs when a family member attempts to make another family member financially subservient.

Anyone who commits any of the above behaviors could be charged with domestic violence-related crimes. Maryland residents who are facing domestic violence charges should take the charges seriously, as they may go hand-in-hand with steep penalties. Those facing domestic violence charges may find it beneficial to speak with an attorney and build a solid defense.

Source: Maryland Courts, "Domestic Violence," accessed on Feb. 12, 2015

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