Domestic assault charges will usually require an assertive criminal defense for a number of reasons. Like any criminal case, even a misdemeanor domestic assault charge can land a person in jail and most certainly will result on probation, fines, fees and other penalties. Moreover, convictions for crimes related to domestic violence can affect people in other ways, about which they might not even think at the time.
For instance, like other states, Maryland has separate laws that are designed to protect children who are in the middle of child custody disputes when one of the child's parents is accused of domestic violence, even if the victim was not the child but the other parent. Specifically, a Maryland court deciding custody or visitation must take into account the fact that a parent has a domestic violence conviction when deciding what custody and parenting arrangement is in the child's best interest.
Moreover, the court's main goal at that point must be to protect the child and the other parent, even if doing so is at the expense of the accused person's parenting time or custodial rights. Not surprisingly, someone accused of domestic violence may have a hard time getting the quality of relationship he or she would like with his or her children as a result. Unfortunately, some parents may even use an accusation of domestic violence to get an edge in a custody dispute by fabricating or, at best, grossly exaggerating allegations.
Whether falsely accused or a person just made a one-time mistake, someone facing domestic assault charges has a lot at stake. They should make sure that they know their rights and their legal options as they go forward.