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What is considered domestic violence in Maryland?

Because of the serious concern domestic violence presents for families and communities, individuals facing domestic violence situations or accusations may wonder what is considered domestic violence in Maryland. In Maryland, domestic violence is defined as certain acts between family or household members. Acts that can occur between family or household members, which are considered domestic violence in Maryland, include assault; actions that cause fear of imminent serious bodily harm; actions that cause serious bodily harm; rape or sexual offenses; attempted rape or sexual offenses; stalking; and false imprisonment such as actions that impact freedom or kidnapping.

It is understood that domestic violence can have a significant impact on families. In addition, domestic violence accusations, allegation and charges threaten serious potential penalties and possible consequences for individuals accused of domestic violence. Penalties can include jail time and fines. In addition, violations of a protective order can lead to additional charges, penalties and consequences. Individuals accused of domestic violence may also be confronted with unexpected personal and professional challenges as a result of domestic violence charges such as an inability to return to the family home, among other challenges they may face.

Because of the unquestionably serious nature of domestic violence situations, and its broad impact on families, it is important that all parties involved understand the resources available to help them. Individuals accused of domestic violence have criminal defense resources available to them which are, of course, protections afforded to any individual accused of a crime under our justice system. Because protections are in place, and evidence requirements must be met, it may be possible to challenge domestic violence charges in circumstances.

Facing domestic violence charges can be overwhelming and upsetting. As a result, it is important to always be aware of the criminal defense options available when you have been charged with a crime such as domestic violence.

Source: Maryland Courts, "Domestic Violence," Accessed Aug. 24, 2016

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