The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the York Daily Record reports that new laws are going into effect this month which may protect Maryland residents from abuse.
Data from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Maryland indicates that 17,931 domestic violence crimes were reported in 2010 in addition to 18 domestic violence-related homicides, prompting officials to pass legislation that may help protect domestic violence victims.
The following are the new Maryland laws related to domestic violence:
- Individuals will now be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation determine they left their job because they, or a family member, were a victim of domestic violence.
- Noted to be a “key piece of legislation” by the Frederick County State Attorney, a new law will allow the court system to flag cases as domestic-related. He explains that MD doesn’t have a separate crime of domestic violence and this law will give prosecutors a more complete picture of these crimes in the state.
- A crime can now be labeled “domestically related” if it occurs between a defendant and a victim who have had a sexual relationship within the last year, which can include “boyfriends and girlfriends.”
- A new law will help prevent harassment by electronic means. For example, text messaging and Facebook are common mediums for threats and verbal abuse, but these activities don’t fall within “traditional harassment law.” As such, this law may provide additional avenues for harassment cases.
- Two additional pieces of legislation allow the duration of a peace or protective order to be extended, and removal from judiciary websites of certain court records concerning domestic violence.
As the state of Maryland takes domestic abuse crimes very seriously, the Maryland domestic abuse attorneys of Alpert Schreyer understand the need for those accused of domestic violence-related crimes to have excellent legal representation in order to protect them from excessive penalties. To protect your future and avoid the negative impact a criminal conviction can have on your personal and professional relationships, call (866) 444-6363 to schedule a free case evaluation with our skilled legal team.