Common Misconceptions About Domestic Violence
When you’ve been charged with domestic abuse, it can be terrifying and infuriating. Just being accused of a crime is bad enough, but being accused of hurting your own family can be even more frustrating, especially when the allegations are false or overblown. With this in mind, consider some common misconceptions about domestic violence that are often completely overlooked.
You Can Be Changed With Domestic Abuse Even Without Physical Contact
Maryland domestic violence laws are constantly changing. In fact, there is almost always some pending legislation regarding domestic abuse. One thing is clear, however. You do not have to physically assault or beat someone to be convicted of domestic battery. In fact, extreme verbal abuse can rise to the level of domestic abuse, allowing police to arrest a person and prosecutors to bring charges.
You Can Be Charged With Domestic Abuse Even If Your Partner Does Not Press Charges
Many people believe that if their partner just explains the miscommunication or tells the truth, prosecutors will back off. This is usually not the case. Many abused spouses are afraid to speak up or may be intimidated into saying whatever their abuser tells them to say. Police and prosecutors know this, so they often give little weight to late reversals. More importantly, crimes are not prosecuted by victims. A prosecutor brings the charges on behalf of the people of the State of Maryland, so a crime can be charged with or without the victim’s cooperation. In this way, “pressing charges” has little to do with whether the prosecutor actually prosecutes the case. In other words, it’s not up to the victim.
Women Can Be Charged Too
While the vast majority of domestic violence complaints and convictions are for male offenders, women can also be abusers. Plenty of women have perpetrated acts of violence against spouses.
You Don’t Have to Be Convicted In Order to Lose Your Kids in a Custody Dispute
There are plenty of people who mistakenly believe if they can just “beat their charges,” a divorce court judge will have to ignore it when deciding custody arrangements. The flaw here is that criminal cases and civil divorce matters have entirely different burdens of proof. In a criminal court, a jury must find you guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a fairly high standard. In a civil court, such as family court, the burden of proof is preponderance of evidence – a much lower standard.
Moreover, a divorce court judge does not need to have 100% proof of misconduct when considering the best interests of the child. If the judge is convinced that you are abusive or violent, based on credible evidence, it’s completely irrelevant whether a jury convicted you or whether a prosecutor had enough evidence to bring charges. In short, it’s a completely different standard and different case. You can be found not guilty in criminal court and still have a judge limit your visitation or deny you custody due to a history of abuse.
Hire a Lawyer Today
Your best chance of avoiding the costly consequences of a domestic abuse charge is to hire a lawyer right away. At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland, you can rest assured you have a lawyer who understands both domestic violence as a criminal offense and domestic abuse in the context of family law matters like divorce and custody. We attack these charges from all angles, looking to reduce the impact of allegations at every turn. For experienced legal representation, call or visit us online today.