If you’re charged with domestic violence in Maryland, your life could be changed forever. A domestic violence conviction, which is actually covered under the same state codes as first- and second-degree assault (Title 3, Subtitle 2 of the Maryland state criminal law code), could result in either a felony or a misdemeanor. While the penalties associated with a misdemeanor can be severe and include incarceration, probation, house arrest, restraining orders, fines and community service, the penalties associated with a felony are even worse. Not only could you be subject to more extreme forms of the above penalties, but a felony conviction on your permanent record could make it virtually impossible to find employment in your field of expertise, housing, a loan for a vehicle, and more.
With the help of an experienced Maryland domestic violence lawyer, you will maximize your odds of having the most positive outcome possible in court. While this won’t necessarily equate to a complete dismissal of your charges, it could mean a lowering of the charges from first-degree to second-degree assault or a reduction of the penalties associated with either. Arranging for the best legal defense now will help you to keep your life on track later and provide you reassurance as your court date approaches.
The most severe forms of domestic violence in Maryland are covered under state code § 3-202, the same code that covers first-degree assault. This code defines first-degree assault as causing “serious physical injury” to another individual, which code § 3-201 defines as creating protracted or permanent disfigurement to another person or putting them at a significant risk of death. This definition also allows the causing of any injury that leads to loss or significant impairment of a bodily function to be classified as first-degree assault.
In addition, any domestic violence incident that involves the use of a firearm; such as a shotgun, rifle, handgun, machine gun, assault pistol, antique firearm, or regulated firearm; is classified in Maryland as first-degree assault according to state code § 3-302.
If you’re charged and convicted of first-degree domestic assault in the state of Maryland, you could be imprisoned for a maximum of 25 years in addition to other penalties such as fines, house arrest, a restraining order, mandatory community service, driving restrictions and probation—all of which could dramatically affect your life for years after your prison sentence ends. By hiring a qualified Maryland domestic violence lawyer, you’ll have the best legal defense when it comes to protecting your constitutional rights and working to prove your innocence. Even in the case of conviction, a Maryland domestic violence attorney will work to minimize the penalties you face a result.
Crimes of domestic violence deemed less severe than felonies are classified under Maryland’s state code for second-degree assault, code § 3-203. Second-degree assault is defined as inflicting any type of injury on another person, including an individual in your domesticity. According to this code, an individual convicted of second-degree domestic violence is subject to a misdemeanor and the penalties that come along with it, which can include fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum incarceration term of 10 years. It’s important to note that these penalties and their attached maximums increase for repeat offenders.
Just because second-degree domestic violence charges lead to a misdemeanor instead of a felony doesn’t mean they should be taken any less seriously by you or your Maryland domestic violence lawyer. In addition to fines and jail time, a misdemeanor could result in employment woes, hundreds of hours of community service, highly limiting driving restrictions and more, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
Charges of domestic violence against a minor are covered by Maryland state code § 3-601. According to code § 3-601(b), first-degree child abuse is defined as a parent or other caregiver causing abuse to a child that results in death or severe physical injury and can result in felony conviction as well as a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Second-degree child abuse is covered by state code § 3-601(d), and is defined similarly except with general “abuse” as opposed to a severe physical injury or death. The penalty for second-degree child abuse (unlike second-degree domestic assault) is an automatic felony, along with up to 15 years in prison, probation, fines, restraining orders, and other associated penalties.
Being convicted of domestic violence can and will change your life forever. A reputable Maryland domestic violence lawyer will help you fight the charges, protect your rights, and work to restore your life to normal.
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Washington, DC, please visit Shawn Sukumar’s website.