Domestic violence cases in Maryland generally begin with a phone call from the victim to the local police. The phone call then requires that local law enforcement come to where the victim is – usually in a home. Once the accusation is made, then the person the victim accuses of domestic violence is usually arrested. An arrest does not mean you’re guilty. There are defenses that may apply. Alleged victims can also file a request for a protective order which the accused person must response to at a court hearing
The available defenses vary depending on what actually happened. Some defenses are factual defenses in which the respondent/defendant directly contests what happened. Other legal defenses assert that that the victim hasn’t met their burden to prove the charges or that some legal right was violated.
Factual defenses to domestic violence charges and complaints
Common factual defenses in domestic violence cases include the following:
- An alibi. An alibi is an affirmative defense that you couldn’t have committed the acts because your weren’t there when they happened.
- A denial. This argument admits that you were home or physically near the victim but that you didn’t commit that acts the victim alleges.
- Arguing the victim isn’t credible or making up the charges. These charges may have merit depending on the history of those involved and what happened at the time of the event. They generally don’t have merit if the victim suffered physically or there are witnesses to the altercation.
- Claiming self-defense. An experienced Annapolis criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that the person filing the charges or complaint started the altercation and that you were defending yourself.
- An accident. Respondents and defendants may be able to argue that the cuts and bruises the victim has were due to causes other than a physical confrontation.
In cases where a defendant asserts a factual defense; medical reports, photographs, and videos may help determine whether the factual defense has any merit.
Legal defenses to domestic violence charges and complaints
The prosecution which handles the domestic violence case for the victim must prove its case. The standard of proof in criminal cases is – beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer has the right to question the victim, the police officer, and anyone who has knowledge of the dispute or misconduct.
Defense lawyers may seek to have evidence suppressed if it was improperly obtained. Evidence is generally improper if it violates your right not to self-incriminate yourself or if physical evidence was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, our experienced Annapolis domestic abuse lawyer has been fighting for the rights of the accused for 18 years. Our legal staff works to contest every aspect of the prosecution’s case. We also work to obtain just plea bargains which may help resolve the charges and the address the circumstances that led to the charges. For help defending domestic violence charges, call us at 410-271-1892, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We maintain offices in Annapolis and Ellicott City.