The term “domestic violence” can be a little confusing. There are some misconceptions with what it means and infers. It does have a very negative connotation and for good reason. At the heart of the term is violence. Maryland has domestic violence laws to protect victims. At the same time, those laws also work to protect anyone who is innocent in a situation of suggested domestic violence. Understanding what this term means at its core can help you if you face charges or wish to charge someone else with this crime.

The Maryland Courts define domestic violence as abuse towards someone living in your household or a family member. The type of abuse is very wide. It may include false imprisonment, assault, stalking, rape, sexual abuse, causing bodily harm, causing fear of bodily harm. It does not have to be physical abuse, which is important to understand since many people think domestic violence is always physical.

If someone accuses you of domestic violence, law enforcement will probably arrest you. You will go to court and the judge will determine the merit of the accusations. If he or she believes you are guilty of the crime, there may be a protective order or a peace order put in place.

A protective order prevents you from doing certain things or taking certain actions, such as contacting the other person. To get a protective order, you must have a specific type of relationship with the other person. You need to be romantically or sexually involved or had been involved with that person, be a family member, live in the household with the person or have a parent or caretaker relationship with the person.

A peace order does not hinge on the relationship. It is a court order to stay away from the other person. This information is for education and is not legal advice.