Domestic violence laws apply to a wide range of behaviors committed by one intimate partner against another. But at its core, domestic violence is the use of force or duress by one person to control another. Following are the forms of domestic abuse with Maryland’s domestic violence law:
• Physical abuse. This is defined as (1) an act that causes serious bodily harm, or (2) an act that places a person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. This can include hitting, kicking, choking, grabbing, pinching, shoving, punching and using weapons against the victim.
• Sexual abuse. This is forcing another to engage in sexual acts against their will and without their consent. It includes attempted or completed rape or sexual offenses.
• Verbal threats. This includes threats of bodily harm.
• False Imprisonment. This is the confinement or detention of a person against that person’s will, accomplished by force or threat of force, or deception.
• Stalking. This is a malicious course of conduct that includes approaching or pursuing another where the person intends to place, or knows or reasonably should have known, the conduct would place another person in reasonable fear:
o Of serious bodily injury; an assault; actual or attempted rape or sexual offense; false imprisonment; or death, or
o That a third person likely will suffer any of the acts listed in the preceding paragraph.
A common misconception is that women are believed to be the majority of victims of domestic abuse. However, many men have also been victims of domestic abuse. Abuse can be frequent or infrequent, although typically it escalates over time and constitutes a pattern of behavior.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need an experienced lawyer to protect your rights and fight for you.