Germantown Domestic Violence Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Domestic Violence Victims
The recent events related to the pandemic and lockdowns highlighted a concerning increase of domestic violence cases across the nation. In Maryland, violent domestic crime is said to have risen as much as 31% in 2021 when compared to previous years. Our attorneys discuss what constitutes domestic violence in Maryland and what victims can do to protect themselves and hold their partners responsible for their actions.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Maryland?
Domestic violence is a broad term that includes a significant number of actions and behaviors that one person may engage in so as to control the actions of their spouse or partner. Domestic violence can be of an emotional, verbal, and/or physical nature. Any type of repetitive abuse against a member of the same household – not just a spouse but also parents or children – can be considered domestic violence.
Making verbal threats, gaslighting, humiliating their partner in public, displaying controlling behaviors such as stalking or not allowing their partner to leave the house after an argument, using physical force to hurt or restrain someone are all examples of domestic violence. A domestic violence victim may seek protection from the courts by requesting a protective order or a peace order, depending on their specific situation.
What Is the Difference Between a Protective Order and a Peace Order?
Protective orders and peace orders are both designed to prevent an abuser from having contact with the victim. A protective order may be issued to protect a victim from their abuser when the abuser is/was their current or former spouse, have resided together in an intimate relationship for at least 90 days, or are otherwise related by blood, marriage, or adoption. In contrast, a peace order is meant to protect a victim from an abuser with whom he or she is not related – such as a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or acquaintance.
Both types of orders prohibit the abuser from getting near the victim, communicating with the victim, and may also require the abuser to surrender any firearms or weapons they may have. In some cases, when a peace order is issued, an abuser may be asked to pay the victim’s legal fees and seek counseling or therapy.
Can a Domestic Violence Victim Withdraw Charges Against Their Partner?
It is very common for domestic violence victims to change their minds and ask the police or the state prosecutor to drop charges against their abuser. They may be doing so for fear of repercussions or because they are being threatened or manipulated by their abuser; however, once criminal or civil charges are initiated by the state, a victim no longer has the authority to get those charges dropped. Even when a victim does not want their abuser to go to jail or be criminally charged, it is completely up to the judge to decide what will happen.
What Are the Steps to Obtain a Protective Order or a Peace Order?
The first step to filing a protective order or a peace order is to understand which type of order you are eligible for. If you wish to receive protection against someone you are related to or have resided together, you will likely need to file a form called Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence, and bring it to the court during business hours. If filing for a peace order, you will need a different form called Petition for a Peace Order. There may be additional forms to file along with these petitions, so make sure you have all the necessary paperwork before you head to the court.
Shortly after filing, you may be called for a temporary hearing in which you may explain the type of abuse you have suffered and why you would like to receive protection from the court. If the judge agrees that you need protection, he or she may issue a temporary order that usually lasts for up to seven days. The last step to obtain a permanent peace or protection order is to attend a final hearing, which usually requires the person being accused of abuse to be present as well. You may want to recruit the help of an attorney to guide you through this process.
How Can a Domestic Violence Attorney Help?
If you are dealing with a domestic violence situation at home, seeking the help of an attorney may be extremely important to help you stop the abuse and get the resources and legal help you need to hold the abuser responsible for their acts while protecting yourself, your children, pets and belongings from further violent acts. It may be hard to think clearly or know what steps to take when you are in this difficult situation. By working with an attorney skilled in representing domestic violence victims, you will be better prepared to tell your side of the story, get the right protection orders (when applicable) and take the right steps to get a successful outcome for your case.
At Paré & Associates, LLC, we represent domestic violence victims and assist them in their quest for justice. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skills to help you at every step of the way. We understand that taking action against an abuser can be a scary and emotional situation. That is why our attorneys are ready to provide fierce representation on your behalf while treating every client with professionalism, compassion, and respect. If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, don’t fight it alone. Call Paré & Associates, LLC today at (301) 515-1190 to schedule a free consultation.