Under the law of the state of Maryland, domestic violence is defined as any sort of violence or other abuse by an individual against another individual in a domestic setting, like a marriage.
There are several things which are considered as domestic violence, they are stated below:
- Action towards an individual that causes serious bodily harm;
- Any action that makes an individual eligible for relief in fear of serious bodily harm;
- Rape, attempted rape or sexual offense, attempted sexual offense;
- Any assault degree;
- False imprisonment; or
Penalties in Maryland
- Assault: causing physical harm to another person intentionally is punished by up to 25 years in prison;
- Rape or Sexual Offense: any sort of non-consensual sexual act can be punished by up to life imprisonment;
- False Imprisonment: in Maryland holding someone against their will is a misdemeanor.
The exact penalties vary from case to case, they depend on many factors. An appropriate sentence will be set considering the offender’s criminal record, the severity of the crime committed, the sort of injury or injuries done.
Long-term consequences of domestic violence
The long-term consequences of domestic violence are that the offender will have a criminal record, which can negatively affect a person’s life in many ways, especially in areas such as getting a job that requires background checks and security clearances, like working for the government. Usually, companies will not hire a person convicted of domestic violence to work for them.
Factors that enhance the penalties of domestic violence
The two biggest factors that can increase the severity of a domestic violence charge are that an individual has a criminal record of committed similar crimes before and whether there are injuries which determine how violent the crime was.
The aggravating factors listed below will also be considered to determine the punishment of the offender:
- Permanent injuries;
- Strain injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Disabilities from being injured;
- Medical treatment.
Aggravating factors dramatically impact the judge’s decision when deciding a sentence.
Penalties for violating a protective order
In the state of Maryland, violating a protective order is a considered a misdemeanor. The first offense of violating a protective order is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and the offender will be fined up to $1,000. Second offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and the offender will be fined up to $2,500.
The alleged victim can get any of the following orders which are considered as a punishment to the alleged offender:
- A protective order: The victim can seek a protective order which the court may order his/her spouse/partner to leave the family home, keep away from the victim’s house, work, and his/her children’s school(s), and to not contact the victim and/or his/her children. The court can also make the offender to pay emergency family maintenance funds to help the victim pay his/her living expenses.
- A peace order: Like a protective order, a peace order is an order that protects an individual from abuse and domestic violence. The individual’s eligibility to ask the court to issue a protective order will be determined by his/her relationship to the alleged offender. Peace orders usually apply to people who have non-family relationships like co-workers and neighbors.