Domestic Violence

We’re only human. We’ve all let our anger get the best of us. When an argument turns into a push or shove, someone could be arrested or issued an order of protection against domestic violence. Both men and women escalate the argument into something more, especially when the parties are contemplating a separation or divorce. Our Baltimore domestic violence lawyer may help you file or fight domestic violence charges.

When a divorce, separation or child custody battle is looming, the parties become motivated to make false allegations. If that’s happened to you, and you now face criminal charges for domestic assault or a protective order, you may be facing some serious consequences.

Many of our clients tell us that they were falsely accused or that the allegations are grossly exaggerated. We have also represented the victim of domestic abuse who ends up being arrested because of the false allegations of the person who was the primary aggressor.

We have dealt with these cases from every angle. We’re committed to helping people through difficult legal problems. And, since 1992, we’ve collected years of experience doing just that.

Call our domestic violence lawyer at 443-709-9999 to get the help you need against charges of domestic violence or abuse in Maryland. You can also contact us online. Case evaluations are free and confidential.

Protecting Your Rights After Arrest for Domestic Violence

It is important to remember that not all domestic violence cases are as clear-cut as prosecutors make them out to be. If you’ve been arrested, you should contact a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. A domestic violence lawyer can help prevent the situation from getting worse, especially in cases involving child abuse or false allegations.

Mere allegations of abuse – let alone actual proof – can be extremely damaging in any divorce or family law matter. You could lose custody of your children. You could lose visitation rights. You could be thrown out of your home.

Other consequences of a domestic violence allegation:

  • An order to pay emergency financial support to your family;
  • An order to give up firearms (with a complete loss of your right to possess a firearm upon conviction); and
  • An order to give your car or other property to your spouse.

False Allegations of Domestic Violence in Maryland

False allegations are claims made by one parent against the other, usually involving claims of domestic violence or abuse of some kind. Many of these claims have merit; some don’t. Courts often have a difficult time telling the difference.

It’s the claims that aren’t entirely true that are most damaging to an innocent person involved in a divorce or separation – especially when something like child custody is on the line.

Domestic violence is a serious issue handled by both the family and criminal courts. A domestic abuse allegation can result in criminal charges. But even if you’re cleared of those charges, the damage may already have been done. Here’s why: A mother (or even a father) may make false allegations in an effort to gain control over the outcome in a divorce or separation involving child custody. Some family law judges will use extreme caution in making decisions, with unfair bias against someone who has been accused of abuse.

In other words, false allegations can mean you end up losing primary custody – even visitation time.

Protective Orders Against Domestic Violence

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates represent residents of Maryland in cases involving domestic violence. Under the federal Violence Against Women Act, any order for protection meeting specified requirements that is issued by the court of one state, Native American tribe, or territory must be accorded full faith and credit by the court of another state, tribe, or territory and enforced by the court and law enforcement personnel as if it were the order of the enforcing jurisdiction.

The “full faith and credit” requirement applies to any order for protection entered pursuant to a complaint, petition, or motion filed by or on behalf of a person seeking protection if:

  • the issuing court has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter under the law of the state, tribe, or territory and
  • notice and an opportunity to be heard is given to the person against whom the order is sought.

In a domestic violence proceeding, if a judge finds by a preponderance of the evidence that abuse has occurred, or if the respondent consents to the entry of a protective order, the judge may grant a final protective order to protect any person eligible for relief from abuse. A final protective order may contain numerous forms of relief, including provisions:

  1. requiring a respondent to refrain from further contact and/or abuse and remain away from specified locations;
  2. establishing temporary custody and visitation arrangements; and
  3. awarding temporary use and possession of a residence or vehicle under certain circumstances.

The final protective order also must require the respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearm in the respondent’s possession and to refrain from possession of any firearm for the duration of the protective order.

The alleged victim of abuse who was the person eligible for relief in an original final protective order may request the issuance of a permanent final protective order. A court is required to issue a permanent final protective order against an individual if:

  1. the individual was previously a respondent against whom a final protective order was issued and
  2. the individual was convicted and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of at least five years and has served at least 12 months of the sentence for any of the following:
    • attempted murder in the first or second degrees;
    • first-degree or second-degree assault;
    • first-degree or second-degree rape;
    • first-degree or second-degree sexual offense; or
    • attempted rape or sexual offense in the first or second degree.

One of the specified crimes must have been the act of abuse that led to the issuance of the original final protective order. A permanent final protective order may contain only the relief that was granted in the original order that required the respondent to refrain from abusing or threatening to abuse the person eligible for relief or to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing the person eligible for relief.

Domestic Violence Lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland

The stakes are high in domestic violence. Protective orders can be placed against you for up to a year or longer – not to mention all the other consequences for your criminal record and family law case.

Call 443-709-9999 or contact us online.