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Maryland woman's sister accuses her of domestic violence

Maryland domestic violence laws are largely oriented around trying to prevent violence between people in a romantic relationship, but there are many ways to define a domestic relationship and many ways to define domestic violence. Because some organizations have different definitions of domestic violence, it isn't always clear what laws may apply to what types of situations.

Recently, a Maryland woman was accused of assault after police said she was involved in a physical altercation with her sister. Police said that the alleged victim called emergency services to report a domestic violence situation after an argument between the sisters got out of hand. Police arrested a 19-year-old woman, but later released her. It was not clear whether charges would be filed against her.

While many domestic violence crimes are covered under different types of laws, such as those dealing with assault and battery, the authorities have tools to handle domestic violence situations that may not be available for other types of crimes. Chief among these are protective orders, which are designed to break up a pattern of domestic violence before it gets worse.

Under Maryland law, the two main types of these orders are protective orders and peace orders. Protective orders are for people who need protection from a spouse, someone they live with or someone with whom they have a child. Peace orders are designed to separate people who do not live together, such as neighbors, acquaintances and strangers.

These orders may be placed on an accelerated basis, if the situation is such that a person feels he or she needs immediate protection. Those who fear for their safety can get an interim order immediately, and a hearing on a temporary order is typically held within 48 hours. A hearing for a final order is typically held within a week.

Domestic violence laws can be very important for protecting people, but they can also be damaging to the accused. Every incident of domestic violence is different, and it's important to know how the law will apply to the specifics of one's case. The Whether Anne Arundel County residents fear for their safety or feel they need to protect themselves against accusations of domestic violence, an Anne Arundel County domestic violence lawyer can help them to understand how the system works and assess their options.

Source: The Star Democrat, "Woman faces domestic violence charges," July 16, 2014

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