How Maryland Proves Domestic Violence When the Victim Won't Testify Few things are more painful, complicated, and often convoluted as domestic violence cases – no matter who is telling the truth. However, the person accused often faces a unique set of consequences that start as soon as the accusation is made. Domestic violence cases are considered especially heinous — and rightfully so — but this often means the accused is treated as automatically guilty long before they get to court. By the time they are before a judge, their whole life has already been uprooted and changed. From where they live to the custody of their children to their employment, a simple protective order from the time of the arrest can take all of that away.

There doesn’t need to be a mountain of evidence against you. You don’t have to be guilty at all. In fact, and perhaps most unfairly, your partner doesn’t even have to be the one to accuse you. Yup, believe it or not, Maryland  in order to convict you of it. This is the big leagues of Crimes Juries Hate, so you better work to make sure you’re ready to face them by making sure you don’t do it alone.

Any evidence can count — but not much is needed

Domestic violence laws were rightfully created with victims in mind, but the way they’ve done it means the accused don’t exactly get a fair opportunity to defend themselves. Of all the crimes, they need the LEAST amount of evidence to get you. If you’re suspected of being abusive, you can be arrested for it, because the idea is to get the victim safe as quickly as possible. Any of the following counts as abuse in Maryland:

Cops are required to operate under what’s called a “preferred arrest” policy, which means they only have to suspect you did any of the above to arrest and charge you for domestic violence. This is because it’s the state prosecutor that files charges against you, not your accuser. Your supposed victim is considered just a witness to their own supposed abuse.

What could make an officer suspect you, aside from the victim’s testimony? Well, frankly, quite a lot. Any bruising they see on your partner, ripped clothing, 911 calls from either your partner or another witness — it’s an incredibly vague policy. Basically, they need a really big hunch.

Once you actually get to court, there’s even more evidence the prosecution could pull. Your social media posts, text messages, criminal history, and any other testimony (including by the arresting officer) are all fair game. With how relatively easy it is to convict someone of domestic violence, and with how incredibly severe the penalties are at any level, this is definitely something you want to take steps to protect yourself from as soon as you can.

Protecting yourself from domestic violence charges in Annapolis

Things are only hopeless if you give up hope. It’s only easy to charge someone with domestic violence if they have poor — or no — legal representation. While there’s, unfortunately, not much you can do to get around a protective order before your time in court, you can still get an attorney at that time to help prepare and build your case. The prosecution is going to try very hard to convince you there’s no hope or chance for you to escape these charges, but that’s simply not true. If you take them seriously and take proper steps to protect yourself, it is absolutely doable to get out of this mess as unscathed as possible.

Some of these steps include:

  • Keeping calm and professional whenever dealing with law enforcement
  • Making sure not to delete any posts or texts you deem incriminating (they CAN be recovered and they WILL be held against you)
  • Also making sure not to make any NEW posts — at least pertaining to any single thing about what’s going on
  • Hiring an attorney instead of trying to represent yourself

There ARE defenses against domestic violence charges; they’re just not “one size fits all.” When you do your part, the attorney can do theirs. Forming your alibi after doing an independent investigation, claiming self-defense or accident, casting doubt on the victim’s credibility, and even just outright denying that the abuse happened are all valid defenses, but they have to actually suit the situation. With how complicated the law is, it’s definitely not something you can just figure out — even if you know you’re innocent. Remember, they’re assuming you’re guilty. The prosecution is going to be specifically trying to throw you off and get you to mess up. Your Annapolis criminal defense attorney is there to fight back on your behalf.

In Annapolis and Ellicott City, the criminal defense attorneys at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, have been representing citizens for years when they’ve been accused of domestic violence. We know exactly how harrowing and isolating it can be, and we know how to help — no matter how much of the accusation is “true.” Let me be clear on that: even if you did it, you still have OPTIONS. You just have to take the leap. To get started, call us today at 410-271-1892 or use our contact form. Don’t listen to the prosecutors telling you there’s no hope.

Just remember — keep calm, and call Drew!