According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner every year in the United States. Overall, one in four women and one in nine men experience severe physical violence, physical sexual violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner leading to injury, including psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sexual injury like sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Sadly, these staggering statistics account for only a fraction of domestic abuse victims, as domestic violence is underreported. Additionally, domestic violence goes beyond violence between intimate partners; it can also involve parents, stepparents, children, relatives, and other household members.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse in the state of Maryland, Albers & Associates can help you seek justice. We represent those injured in domestic violence incidents, as well as those who suffer emotional or mental harm and financial losses as a result of such terrible acts. Whether you need help obtaining a protective order or filing a personal injury claim, our domestic violence attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process and protect your rights every step of the way.
Contact us online or call (443) 665-8030 for a confidential consultation.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence?
When most people think of domestic violence, they think of violence that occurs between spouses, exes, or people in romantic relationships. However, this only accounts for a fraction of domestic violence cases.
In Maryland, domestic violence encompasses acts of violence or aggression “within the home.” This can include the mistreatment of vulnerable adults, children, and other family or household members.
An act of violence may be considered domestic violence if the victim is the perpetrator’s:
- Romantic partner
- Ex-romantic partner
- Fellow parent of a shared child
- Blood relative
- Relative through marriage
- Adopted relative
- Stepchild or stepparent
- Fellow household member
In addition to physical attacks, domestic violence can also include stalking, kidnapping, and various sex crimes, such as rape. It should be noted, however, that physical violence without a sexual component between roommates is more likely to be categorized as assault.
Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, the perpetrator may be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Either way, domestic violence charges are very serious and will have a long-lasting impact on the people involved.
Peace & Protective Orders in Maryland
Commonly referred to as “restraining orders,” peace and protective orders are often granted to ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected from their abusers during legal proceedings and for as long as the judge deems necessary.
There are several differences between peace and protective orders in Maryland:
- Peace Orders: Generally speaking, peace orders are issued only to those who do not qualify for a protective order but who are, nevertheless, victims of abuse. For example, an employer may petition for a peace order on behalf of an employee if the employee has been subjected to serious threats or actual acts of violence in the workplace.
- Protective Orders: Protective orders are issued to victims of violence by a current or former spouse, blood relative, relative through marriage, adopted relative, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, vulnerable adults, or cohabitant. Others eligible for a protective order include anyone who has suffered abuse by someone with whom they share a child, someone with whom they had a sexual relationship within the past year, or someone whom the petitioner alleges committed a sexual offense, such as rape, against the petitioner within the past six months.
These orders do not require a conviction to be enacted; you may petition for a protective order even if the perpetrator has not been arrested, charged with, or convicted of domestic violence.
Protective orders and peace orders have similar but different functions.
A protective order mandates that the respondent (the person against whom the order is enacted) must immediately:
- End all contact with the petitioner
- Refrain from committing abuse against the petitioner
- Refrain from threatening to commit abuse against the petitioner
- Stay away from the petitioner
- Refrain from all attempts to contact the petitioner
- Refrain from harassing the petitioner at home, school, work, etc.
- Leave and stay out of the petitioner’s house
Protective orders can also establish temporary custody of any children the respondent and petitioner share, along with temporary visitation and emergency family maintenance. It may also dictate who receives possession and use of a jointly titled vehicle, dictate temporary possession of shared pets, and order the respondent to pay various filing fees and court costs, attend mandatory counseling, and/or immediately surrender all firearms.
Peace orders are similar in function to protective orders in the fact that they are used to stop aggressors from contacting their victims. However, peace orders are only available to people whose situations are not eligible for a protective order. If you’re not sure which order is appropriate for your situation, speak with a lawyer at Albers & Associates to determine the best course of action for your situation.
Can You File a Lawsuit After Being Injured in a Domestic Violence Incident?
If you are injured in a domestic violence incident, you may find yourself facing significant physical pain, psychological trauma, emotional suffering, and financial hardships associated with expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. You should know that you have the right to seek restitution by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
In many cases, domestic violence leads not only to criminal charges but also civil liability. In other words, you can bring a claim against the perpetrator or another liable party in civil court and seek financial compensation for your damages, or the losses you have endured as a result of your injury. Note that it is possible to bring a civil lawsuit regardless of whether the alleged abuser is charged with or convicted of a crime. If you can prove that they were responsible for your injuries, you may have a case.
Our Domestic Violence Lawyers Can Help You Protect Yourself & Your Family
At Albers & Associates, we help victims of domestic violence throughout Maryland take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their children, and their families. As a full-service law firm, we are prepared to help you navigate the family court system, seek a protective order, or file a personal injury lawsuit after being harmed by domestic violence. We understand the complex and sensitive nature of these cases, which is why we provide highly personalized legal services. We are empathetic to what you are going through and understand the challenges you face.
Our Maryland domestic violence lawyers are here for you. We are prepared to answer your questions and guide you through the legal process. We offer direct, open communication every step of the way, along with dedicated, one-on-one representation from a highly skilled and experienced legal team. No matter how difficult your situation may be, we encourage you to take the first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones by reaching out to our firm today.
Schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team by calling (443) 665-8030. You can also contact us online and someone from our firm will get back to you as soon as possible.