New Laws Go Into Effect, Domestic Violence Awareness Month

sheriff1-300There are several new laws that go into effect on October 1, including new domestic violence laws.

“October has been established as the national Domestic Violence Awareness Month and county residents should be proud of the programs and services provided by the Montgomery County Family Justice Center’s [FJC} multi-agency staff to curtail domestic violence and remedy its personal damages,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin.

Sheriff Popkin said, “a number of new laws that enhance protection from domestic violence passed the Maryland General Assembly this year and become effective on October 1, 2014.”

The new laws include the following:

Peace Orders and Protective Orders – Burden of Proof – Senate Bill 333 (House Bill 307) reduces the burden of proof required for final protective and peace orders from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of the evidence.”

Family Law – Domestic Violence – Permanent Final Protective Orders – SB 334 (HB 309) expands the number of victims eligible for a final permanent protective order by adding second degree assault, the most common domestic violence crime, and enables them to get these orders if their abusers were sentenced to serve at least five years and have served at least 12 months of the sentence.

Peace Orders and Protective Orders – Extensions – SB 434 (HB647) ensures that protective and peace orders will remain in effect when victims file for extensions.

Crimes – Committing a Crime of Violence in the Presence of a Minor – Penalties – SB 337 (HB 306) enhances the penalty for people who are convicted of committing a crime of violence in the presence of a minor.

Sentencing Procedures – Statement by Victim or Victim’s Representative (Alex’s Law) – SB 272 (HB 31) enhances victims’ rights in court by allowing a victim or a victim’s representative to address the court before sentencing or other disposition hearing.

Peace Orders and Protective Orders – Penalties – Second or Subsequent Offense – SB 369 (HB 352) makes violations for failing to comply with an interim, a temporary, or a final protective order a prior offense for the purpose of determining penalties for a second or subsequent offense for failing to comply with an interim, a temporary, or a final peace order.

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