An Experienced Maryland Divorce Attorney Explains How Maryland Defines Domestic Violence

Physical and emotional abuse are serious topics you should not take lightly. If you find yourself in a dangerous scenario and feel unsure whether the situation counts as domestic violence, you’ve come to the right place. At Fait & DiLima, LLP, our domestic violence attorney team wants to help you stay safe as you navigate your case. Read more about Maryland’s domestic violence law below.

Since every case is different, find a safe place to stay, then contact our domestic violence lawyers to discuss the next steps. We have offices in Rockville and Frederick and represent cases throughout Maryland.

How To Tell if You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence

Many people stay too long in abusive relationships because they do not understand the true scope of what is happening to them. Accepting that you are a victim of domestic violence is intimidating and challenging but essential for your safety.

If you’ve experienced any of the scenarios below, you might be a victim:

  • You feel afraid of your spouse’s mood swings.
  • You act against your wishes in fear of your partner’s retaliation.
  • You refrain from seeing certain loved ones due to your partner’s mandates.
  • You apologize to others for your partner’s poor temper.
  • Your partner pushes, shoves, hits, or punches you, sometimes causing physical injury.
  • Your partner throws objects at you.

Which People Does Maryland Law Count as “Domestic” Violence Offenders?

Some assume a domestic abuser must be a legal spouse to bring domestic violence charges. In Maryland, the following people and relationships fall under domestic violence laws:

  • Current spouse
  • Former spouses
  • Roommates
  • Blood-related family members
  • Marriage-related family members
  • Adopted family members
  • Elders over the age of 60
  • Parents and step-parents
  • Children and step-children

As a rule of thumb, if someone you know harms you, Maryland law might consider their actions domestic abuse or violence.

Maryland Domestic Violence Laws

Maryland domestic violence laws prohibit the following actions:

  • Any deeds that result in bodily damages
  • Assault
  • Explicit threats of harming another person
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Any degree of sexual offense
  • False imprisonment or kidnapping
  • Stalking

Depending on the severity, the court might view the case as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity. Repeat offenses typically increase charges, though the results vary based on the type of crime your offender commits. A felony or misdemeanor charge typically results in one or multiple of the following punishments:

  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Anger management classes
  • Fines
  • Payment to the victim

A Divorce Attorney Explains Your Options

Maryland law ultimately decides which penalties your abuser will face when your case goes to court. Depending on their crime, the penalties can range from misdemeanor fines to felony charges and jail time.

Aside from the criminal charges that the abuser faces, you can also opt for different protective orders to keep yourself safe in the meantime. Sometimes, court hearings can take months or longer, so you may feel unsafe during this waiting period. If that’s the case, your domestic violence attorney at Fait & DiLima, LLP., can walk you through your options, including:

  • Protection orders: If you’ve lived in the same household as your abuser in the last 90 days, share a blood relationship with them, or have any spousal history, you may seek a protection order.
  • Peace orders: If you do not have the appropriate intimate relationships defined above, you can also seek a peace order to protect yourself.

The civil case is in court within two weeks and your divorce lawyer at Fait & DiLima, LLP, can obtain an Ex Parte Order right away.

Finding Domestic Violence Lawyers Within the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for domestic violence is three years. You must file the case within three years after the abusive incident(s). A few exceptions might apply, like if you’re a minor.

We recommend you seek the legal help of a domestic violence lawyer from Fait & DiLima, LLP, as soon as possible. We will listen to the details of your case and advise you through our recommendations for the different legal actions you should take.

Aside from the statute of limitations, finding legal and protective help is vital for your safety. If you’re in an abusive relationship or a domestic violence victim, you must immediately leave and find a safe place to stay.

Fait & DiLima, LLP: Bold Approaches, Effective Resolutions

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you should immediately find legal support to protect yourself and your legal rights. Before you search for a “domestic violence attorney near me,” consider Fait & DiLima, LLP. Our domestic violence lawyers have helped many domestic abuse victims legally escape their abusers. Let our experience be your guide.

We support clients throughout Rockville, Frederick, and Maryland. Contact us at Fait & DiLima, LLP today to schedule a consultation with an experienced domestic violence attorney by calling (301) 251-0100 or filling out our online form.

Copyright © 2022. Fait & Dilima, LLP. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Fait & DiLima, LLP
One Church St., Suite 800
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 251-0100



An Experienced Maryland Divorce Attorney Explains How Maryland Defines Domestic Violence
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