Archives for October 2011

What Is Domestic Violence in Maryland?


Domestic violence laws apply to a wide range of behaviors committed by one intimate partner against another. But at its core, domestic violence is the use of force or duress by one person to control another. Following are the forms of domestic abuse with Maryland’s domestic violence law:

  • Physical abuse. This is defined as (1) an act that causes serious bodily harm, or (2) an act that places a person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. This can include hitting, kicking, choking, grabbing, pinching, shoving, punching and using weapons against the victim.
  • Sexual abuse. This is forcing another to engage in sexual acts against their will and without their consent. It includes attempted or completed rape or sexual offenses.
  • Verbal threats. This includes threats of bodily harm.
  • False Imprisonment. This is the confinement or detention of a person against that person’s will, accomplished by force or threat of force, or deception.
  • Stalking. This is a malicious course of conduct that includes approaching or pursuing another where the person intends to place, or knows or reasonably should have known, the conduct would place another person in reasonable fear:
    • Of serious bodily injury; an assault; actual or attempted rape or sexual offense; false imprisonment; or death, or
    • That a third person likely will suffer any of the acts listed in the preceding paragraph.

A common misconception is that women are believed to be the majority of victims of domestic abuse. However, many men have also been victims of domestic abuse. Abuse can be frequent or infrequent, although typically it escalates over time and constitutes a pattern of behavior.

Contact a Columbia domestic violence defense attorney

If you have been charged with or are under investigation for domestic abuse, it is vital you retain an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney immediately. A domestic abuse charge can result in your having to move out of your home and being denied contact with your children. Such a charge can also ruin your reputation and endanger your job. To talk to a lawyer who understands what is at stake, contact Jonathan Scott Smith online or call 410-740-0101 today to schedule a consultation.

Driver Accused of Road Rage Assault Found Not Guilty

Road Rage Incidents Between Cars and Bicycles

Drivers often have disagreements on the road,  and sometimes this results in accusations of road rage assault. Drivers and bicyclists can have difficulty sharing the road. Under Maryland law bicyclists are subject to the same responsibilities and “rules of the road” as drivers of motor vehicles. Sometimes drivers are falsely accused of road rage offenses, including use of a motor vehicle to commit an assault or reckless driving. That’s when it’s important to know that every  person accused of any criminal or traffic violation has the right to be represented by an experienced lawyer, and the right to a trial.

Driver Found Not Guilty of Assaulting Bicyclist

In a recent case, a car driver was charged with Second Degree Assault and Reckless Driving in the District Court for Howard County, based on a claim of road rage assault. A bicyclist accused the driver of exchanging words from a traffic dispute, and then abrupty swerving onto the shoulder and slamming on his brakes in front of the bicycle, causing it to collide with the back of the car. The bicyclist was thrown from his bike, and sustained injuries.

Columbia criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Scott Smith aggressively defended the car driver. The prosecutor asked the driver to plead guilty to Second Degree Assault and serve 30 days in jail for road rage assault. Mr. Smith strongly urged the client to reject the plea offer and fight the case at trial. When the plea offer was rejected, the prosecutor retaliated and stated she would request 6 months in jail if the driver was convicted.

The case went to trial in the District Court for Howard County, located in Ellicott City, Maryland. Mr. Smith vigorously cross examined the bicyclist, who reluctantly admitted that he had yelled at the car driver and gave the driver the “middle finger.” Mr. Smith also played a 911 recording, confirming that the accused had called 911 to obtain assistance for the bicyclist, who was heard in the background engaging in a tirade of obscenities toward the driver. Mr. Smith used photographs of the road and forced the bicyclist to admit that he in fact was violating the traffic laws.

The car driver was found not guilty of Second Degree Assault and Reckless Driving.

Howard County, Columbia and Ellicott City Criminal Lawyer

Dealing with criminal charges, including accusations of road rage assault, can be daunting and emotionally stressful. And regardless of the circumstances of your case, you have a right to legal counsel and representation. Further, an arrest or accusation does not mean you will be found guilty.

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience — and track record of successful results in road rage, assault, and other criminal cases— has earned him the recognition of his peers, with an AV® Preeminent™* Peer Review Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, and a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating. These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Attorney Smith is considered to be one of the best criminal lawyers in Howard County.

You need an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the legal process and can mount an effective defense. Contact us online or call us at 410-740-0101 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101