Many Maryland residents who are charged with domestic violence violations
may not have been aware that their actions constituted a potential criminal
act. These defendants, who may also face allegations of spousal abuse,
should understand the precise definition of “domestic violence” in order to mount a criminal defense. So, what exactly constitutes
domestic violence in Maryland? Today, we help you answer that question.
What are the forms of domestic violence? There are generally four recognized
types of domestic violence. These include the commonly prosecuted physical
abuse, which can include striking, biting or otherwise physically harming
the victim. Emotional abuse happens when someone uses psychological tactics
to undermine the victim’s sense of self-worth. Economic abuse occurs
when the abuser prevents the victim from maintaining financial independence,
therefore “trapping” the person in the relationship. Finally,
sexual abuse can also occur if sexual acts are forced upon a victim.
It is important to recognize that domestic violence is often considered
a specific type of crime. That means that you can be charged with both
physical assault and domestic violence. In general, domestic violence
includes physical and psychological abuse that occur as part of a cycle
of violence — domestic violence charges are not always brought after
a first report of physical abuse.
What other factors play a role in charging someone with domestic violence?
The nature of the allegations you face could be dependent upon the seriousness
of the victim’s injuries. Further, charges may be increased if minors
are present. The presence of a protective order can also impact the nature
of the charges faced by a defendant. These mitigating factors should be
considered by a defendant and legal team before a criminal defense strategy
is drafted. Domestic violence charges should always be taken seriously,
as such allegations can have a significant impact on defendants’
professional and personal futures.