New domestic violence laws go into effect

New domestic violence laws go into effect

Maryland will see three new laws coming into effect on Jan. 7, 2015. The
laws will apply to the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence,
and they will affect the way that their convicted abusers are punished.

Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown recently made several
statements about the new domestic violence laws. He said that domestic
violence is indiscriminate and every member of every community feels its
impact in spite of religion, economic status, race or gender. The lieutenant
governor also said that the new laws represent progress in the realm of
protecting Maryland’s women and children.

Previously, Maryland was the only state in the union that required victims
to provide clear and convincing evidence before being granted a peace
or protective order from the court. Now, alleged domestic violence victims
will only require a “preponderance of the evidence” in order
to gain this kind of protection. Three thousand five hundred of the 5,300
protective order requests that were denied last year were denied on the
grounds of not having “clear and convincing evidence.” The
change will make it easier for victims to seek domestic violence protections.

It is good that Maryland courts will now be erring on the side of safety,
and providing protective orders with a lower evidentiary requirement.
However, it also means that more individuals will suffer adverse consequences
following dishonest domestic violence complaints. This means that those
incorrectly accused of domestic violence will need to be even more vigilant
than ever before if they hope to preserve their rights in court following an
accusation of violence.

Source: WBAL, “3 new domestic violence laws added to Maryland books” Saliqa Khan, Jan. 06, 2015