Maryland Police Duties & Notice Requirements For Domestic Violence
When responding to an allegation of domestic violence, Maryland imposes various duties on law enforcement officers. At the highest level, law enforcement must try to protect the alleged victim from further abuse or violence. On top of safety, law enforcement must also provide notice of various rights and, in certain cases, a copy of the incident report.
Law Enforcement Duties for Domestic Violence
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-502 furnishes the duties of law enforcement in cases of alleged domestic violence. This section enables any victim of domestic violence — actual or alleged — to request assistance from law enforcement in cases of danger of imminent and serious harm.
Upon receipt of a report of alleged domestic violence, a law enforcement officer must protect the alleged victim during the reporting process. Moreover, the law enforcement officer must also accompany the alleged victim to the family home to remove the following property, regardless of who paid it:
- Personal clothing of the alleged victim or any child in their care; and
- Personal effects, including medicine or medical devices of the alleged victim or any child in their care.
When responding to an allegation of domestic violence, law enforcement officers typically have immunity from civil liability. But this immunity only applies if the law enforcement officer acts reasonably and in good faith.
Notice of Victim Rights for Domestic Violence
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-503 establishes the requirement of providing certain notices to an alleged victim of domestic violence. When responding to an allegation of domestic violence, a law enforcement officer must provide the victim with written notice that:
- Includes contact information for a local domestic violence program operating pursuant to the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services;
- Explains the ability to request a criminal charging document against the alleged perpetrator;
- Details the requirements for filing a domestic violence petition, inside and outside of the regular business hours of the Maryland courts; and
- Outlines the ability to request an incident report concerning the allegation of domestic violence.
As noted above, law enforcement officers usually enjoy immunity from civil liability when responding to allegations of domestic violence in Maryland. Failure to provide the written notice detailed above does not — in and of itself — generally deprive a law enforcement of immunity from civil liability.
Report of Abuse for Domestic Violence
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-503.1 explores the law enforcement duty to provide a report of abuse to an alleged victim of domestic violence. If a law enforcement officer files an incident report in response to a domestic violence case, they must provide a copy to the alleged victim. Furthermore, the alleged victim does not need to obtain a subpoena to receive a copy of the domestic violence incident report.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with domestic violence in Maryland, it can be thoroughly worthwhile to contact a seasoned Bel Air domestic violence attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including domestic violence. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.