Published on 4/4/2023, 2:16:00 PM
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges in Maryland: Where do I start?
Domestic violence charges in Maryland are taken extremely seriously by the courts. These charges can arise from a wide range of relationship dynamics, including married couples, cohabitants, or individuals involved in an intimate relationship.
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be severe, leading to jail time, significant fines, and a lasting impact on your personal and professional life.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is crucial to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands Maryland criminal law and can develop a robust defense strategy on your behalf.
How do I beat a domestic violence case?
At FrizWoods, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have a deep understanding of the complexities of domestic violence cases and are committed to providing aggressive, effective representation for our clients. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights, investigate the facts of your case, and pursue the best possible outcome.
In Maryland, assault is the primary criminal charge associated with domestic violence. There are two degrees of assault: first and second degree. Both can result in severe penalties, with first-degree assault being the more serious of the two. The State of Maryland bears the burden of proof in every criminal case, and they must prove each element of every criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assault in the First Degree
First-degree assault involves intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to another person. First degree assault can also be charged based on strangulation, or based on an allegation of using a firearm during the course of an assault.
Serious physical injury is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes permanent or protracted serious disfigurement or loss of function of any bodily member or organ.
This is a felony offense, and a conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison.
Assault in the Second Degree
Second-degree assault involves intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical injury to another person, with physical injury defined as any impairment of physical condition, including minor injuries.
This is a misdemeanor offense, but a conviction can still result in up to 10 years in prison and substantial fines, especially if the assault occurred within a domestic relationship.
Dealing with a first time second degree assault is a challenging prospect, but a lawyer can certainly help.
What are some common defenses in Assault Cases?
1. Self Defense
One of the most common defenses in domestic violence cases is self-defense. If you were acting in self-defense, you may be able to argue to a fact finder that your actions were justified in order to protect yourself, or another from the alleged victim's aggression.
To be successful with a self-defense claim, it is important to demonstrate that you had a reasonable belief that you were in imminent danger and that your use of force was necessary to protect yourself. This is called "generating self defense" and it must be done factually before anyone can consider a defense of self defense.
2. Mistaken Identity
In some cases, the alleged victim may have accused the wrong person, either intentionally or unintentionally. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can investigate the facts of your case and present evidence to support your claim of mistaken identity.
3. False Statements
Often alleged victims have a motivation to lie or create false allegations. A skilled lawyer will question a victim with the goal in mind of planting the seeds of doubt in a factfinder's mind about what their motivations are. This could involve spiteful lovers, custody of children, or possession of the marital home.
A thorough investigation is a critical component of any successful domestic violence defense. Your attorney should gather and examine all available evidence, including police reports, medical records, photographs, and witness statements.
This information can be used to build a strong defense, challenge the prosecution's case, and negotiate favorable plea agreements.
5. Cross Examination
During trial, cross-examination of the alleged victim and any witnesses is an essential tool for challenging the credibility of their testimony.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will use cross-examination to expose inconsistencies, exaggerations, or falsehoods in their statements, casting doubt on the prosecution's case.
There are two types of trials in Maryland: bench trials and jury trials. The choice between these trial types can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Criminal court can be confusing, but generally most cases follow a similar track.
The type of trial you have may depend on if you have felony charges or misdemeanors.
If you have felony charges in a domestic case, like a first degree assault charge, then you are likely to have a preliminary hearing.
Bench Trial in District Court or Circuit Court
In a bench trial, a single judge hears the case and decides the outcome. Bench trials can be advantageous in situations where the facts of the case are highly technical or complex, as a judge may have a better understanding of the legal nuances involved.
Additionally, bench trials can be more efficient and faster than jury trials, as they do not require the time-consuming process of jury selection and deliberation.
Misdemeanors like assault in the second degree will be set for a bench trial in the District Court, but are eligible for a jury trial prayer which would remove the case to Circuit Court for a jury trial.
Jury Trial in Circuit Court
In a jury trial, a panel of twelve jurors hears the case and decides the outcome. Jury trials can be advantageous when the facts of the case are emotionally charged or involve sensitive issues, as jurors may be more sympathetic to the defendant's circumstances than a judge.
However, jury trials can also be more unpredictable, as jurors may have varying opinions and biases that can influence their decision-making.
Your criminal defense lawyer will help you decide which type of trial is best suited for your case based on the specific facts and circumstances involved.
In some cases, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution.
A plea agreement typically involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge or accepting a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case, weigh the risks and benefits of going to trial, and negotiate a plea agreement that is in your best interest.
Before you do anything... speak with an Attorney
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Maryland, it is crucial to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case, advise you on your legal options, and develop a strategic defense plan tailored to your unique situation.
Why You Should Hire FrizWoods
At FrizWoods, our team of skilled criminal defense lawyers is dedicated to providing aggressive, effective representation for those facing domestic violence charges in Maryland.
We understand the serious nature of these charges and the potential consequences they can have on your life. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of Maryland criminal law and the strategies that can be used to defend against domestic violence allegations.
Experience and Expertise
Our team has years of experience handling domestic violence cases in Maryland. We are well-versed in the nuances of the law and are adept at crafting effective defense strategies tailored to the specific circumstances of each case.
We will work diligently to investigate the facts of your case, challenge the prosecution's evidence, and present a compelling defense on your behalf.
At FrizWoods, we understand that every case is unique, and we are committed to providing personalized representation tailored to your individual needs. We will take the time to understand your situation, listen to your concerns, and develop a defense strategy that aligns with your goals and priorities.
Our track record of success speaks for itself. We have helped numerous clients facing domestic violence charges secure favorable outcomes, including acquittals, dismissals, and reduced charges. Our team is committed to providing the highest level of representation and achieving the best possible results for our clients.
Don't let domestic violence charges derail your life. Contact FrizWoods today to schedule a consultation and learn how our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help protect your rights and secure a successful outcome in your case.