Domestic Assault

Domestic AssaultDomestic assault cases are far too common in America today, but there are also far too many false accusations with this type of crime.  Thousands of people each year are arrested when couples call the police after an argument gets our of hand, or when a spouse is angry at the other.  Unfortunately domestic cases are generally treated differently in the court system and defendants may find themselves facing angry victims and prosecutors.  Assault is defined as the use of force or the threat of the use of force against another person that causes harm or fear of imminent harm in that person.  It is domestic when the defendant is the spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant of the victim.  Certain jurisdictions may have special prosecutors or judges that handle these cases, and as a result a defendant can face harsher sanctions then a defendant in a standard assault.  If this doesn't sound fair then you are absolutely correct, but it is still a reality that defendants and their lawyers must face.

There are many unique defenses and negotiating tactics in all domestic cases, and especially in assault cases.  The alleged victim often has an ulterior motive, and emotions can easily get in the way of accurately reporting a domestic violence crime to police.  In addition, when responding to a domestic violence call, police officers often choose not to become involved, and simply make an arrest without conducting a thorough investigation.  This can often lead to a police officer showing up to an alleged crime scene with a predetermined decision to make an arrest.  Remember that a police officer does not have to observe an actual injury to make an arrest for assault.  There are also specific negotiating tactics in domestic assault cases that can often keep a defendant out of jail and off probation, such as agreeing to a stay away order.  Contact The Herbst Firm for a detailed consultation about your criminal charge.

Assault cases make up the large majority of all domestic violence crimes in Maryland.  The state keeps detailed statistics on incidents of domestic violence, and according to the Governor’s office of crime control and prevention 16,500 of the 17,900 domestic violence incidents in 2010 were assaults, which translates to over 90 percent of all domestic violence incidents.  Other less common domestic violence crimes include rape and homicide.  The Governor’s office does not break down the numbers of the specific types of the crime but it is safe to assume that the majority of domestic assault cases are of the second degree.  While still being classified as a misdemeanor, second degree assault is an extremely serious criminal charge that carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.  Domestic assault charges may also require a defendant to attend anger management classes, and may have an effect on child custody rights and divorce settlements.  For this reason, pleading guilty to this charge can have severe consequences outside of the courtroom.  Even if a prosecutor offers what appears to be a reasonable plea bargain, a defendant should always retain the services of a lawyer to assure that his or her rights are protected.  The domestic assault lawyers at The Herbst Firm understand the consequences of a criminal charge, and will fight vigorously for your rights in and out of the courtroom.
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