Hi, I’m Jim Crawford. Welcome to the Hip Quick Legal Tip.
Today I’m going to talk about domestic violence in Maryland, and what to expect if you are charged with a crime–a domestic violence crime.
There are basically two types of charges for domestic violence: first-degree assault which carries with it potentially 25 years in jail, and second-degree assault, which is technically a misdemeanor. However, a conviction of either one of those problems can cause you major problems in your life. For example, if you’re convicted of second-degree assault it has the potential to cause you not to possess firearms; you are talking about potential probation issues, where you live issues, all kinds of problems, not to mention issues within the community.
Domestic violence cases are a hot topic nowadays; five or ten years ago they weren’t the same. The courts have actually hired a lot of clerks, judges and state’s attorneys to prosecute people because this is a hot topic.
Once you are accused of a domestic violence scenario many things come into play. There are extended groups such as the House of Ruth, there are groups within the courts, liaisons, who reach out to try to help victims, and it causes major issues in marriages and in families. Here’s an example: Many times a husband and wife, or a boyfriend and girlfriend may get into an argument, and there’s some alcohol involved, nothing major, but it becomes a problem. Someone calls the police. It may not have been either one of you, it may have been a neighbor called the police. The rule of thumb is, in Maryland, in most of metropolitan counties, if the police come to your house they’re usually going to arrest someone. They won’t admit that, and the guidelines don’t say that, but usually someone is being taken out of the home if they are being called for a domestic violence report. The issue now is once you are charged, you are locked up and you are charged, you are taken before a commissioner; the commissioner may approve or disapprove the bail. I know of many commissioners who are being told that if you are being charged with a domestic violence situation, to not allow the person to get out right away and wait for the actual court-reviewed bail which could be the next day or a couple of days later in order to get out. So it causes major issues. You then have to hire an attorney and you have to go through the whole process.
Be very careful. Talk to your spouse or your significant other about these situations. Once the police are called it’s usually out of your control. Of course, if you need a lawyer, we’d be happy to talk to you. Call 443-709-9999 today to schedule a consultation.