Domestic Violence and Protection
Our firm helps victims of domestic violence get legally-based protection that they need. This means that we can help you put the facts down on paper, make a filing with the court, fight your case in court so that you get a restraining order for one year. This type of order is formally called a protection order (or a protective order if you are in Maryland). If you have already filed a petition with the court to hear your case we will fight your case in court. There are fewer cases than not that end up being settled. But we can help you pursue that option for you as well. Either way, we have a superior track record of successes in domestic violence matters.
Defining Domestic Violence
What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is abuse. It is abuse when a person in the home, a relative, a romantic partner, or the parent of your child commits certain criminal acts against you. Or you may be accused of committing certain crimes against one of the above persons. A domestic violence crime includes assault, threats of assault, stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, harassment, and sexual assault. Some evidence is needed to have your best chance of persuading a judge that a crime occurred. And some types of evidence are more persuadable to the judge than others. This can include having harassment or threats in writing, having an official 911 call, being able to show physical injuries, or showing a video. When using video it is important to have implied or express consent to record. To use audio, such as a tape recording, as evidence in a Maryland court of law, there must be consent of the other person. To use audio as evidence in a District of Columbia court of law, there only needs to be consent by you.
What a Protection Order Will Do for You
What will the court do to help? If the court finds that domestic violence occurred, the court will order that the guilty party do several things. The court can order: that the guilty part stay away from places that you frequent, such as your home, your work, or your school; that the guilty party leave the home if you live together; that the guilty party stay away from your family or friends; that the guilty party return possessions that they took; that the guilty party pay emergency maintenance to you if they are a spouse. A protection order is enforceable in any state.
Getting a Protection Order Isn’t Easy
When your life, your safety, and your happiness are on the line you want the best chance at winning your case. You have the best chance of winning if your case is handled by someone who knows what to do and can how to do it well. How do you know a case is handled well? You don’t unless you are an attorney. But you do know that you won’t handle your own case well. And you know that you lack legal education, training, and experience. You don’t know what you can and cannot do. You don’t know what it would mean to dig yourself out of a hole if it seems like the other side may win.
Do you need an attorney? You can try to get the result that you want without an attorney. However, you have the best chance at getting the result that you want if you hire an attorney. An attorney can:
- Analyze your situation to determine if you have a case
- Craft your testimony to be effective in persuading the judge
- Identify what evidence has the chance to be admitted
- Understand the legal rules about evidence
- Use evidence strategically to persuade the judge
- Present an effective closing argument so that the judge understands why you should win
- Knows what specific protections you can ask for
Would you want the gardener to take out your appendix? Would you want your accountant to fill your cavity? Why not? Let’s think about this when determining how best to protect yourself if you are a victim of domestic violence and, if you were accused, let’s think about how you will protect your reputation.