Domestic Violence/Crime Victims
- Safety Plan (House of Ruth) - A plan to help you stay safe in case of domestic violence.
- Safety Tips (House of Ruth) - Tips for staying safe in explosive situations, when separating, in public places.
- Peace Order (Maryland District Court) - Form of relief available to people who are threatened with violence by an intimate partner. A Peace Order application may be downloaded electronically.
- Protective Order (Maryland District Court) - Form of relief available to individuals who are experiencing abuse. A Peace Order application may be downloaded electronically.
- Battered: What Can I do? (PDF) (Women's Law Center) - A guide to legal aspects of domestic violence including protective orders, criminal and civil suits, custody, divorce and other issues. This brochure is also available in Spanish.
- Safety Planning in the Workplace: Protect Yourself and Your Job (PDF) (NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund) - A guide for women who are victims of domestic violence.
- Special Education Handbook (Maryland Disability Law Center) - A guide designed to give you the tools you need to protect your child's right to special education (education for children with special needs). (2009 edition)
- US Department of Education - This is a English version of the web site for the federal government's education department.
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) web site - This is the Spanish version of the web site for this division of the federal government's Department of Labor that deals with such issues as employment rights, discrimination, and work-related problems. OSHA also provides several English-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionaries of terms related to labor and employment issues
- OSHA Spanish-English Dictionary for Frequently Used General Industry Terms - Provides the terms in English and their Spanish equivalent
- OSHA Spanish-English Dictionary of Frequently Used Construction Industry terms - Provides the terms in English and their Spanish equivalent
- OSHA Spanish-English Dictionary of Construction Industry Terms - A more extensive listing of construction terms in English with their Spanish equivalent.
Dealing with Police
- Police Abuse (ACLU) - A handbook for community action and organization against police abuse.
- Criminal Information for Complainant (Maryland District Court) - What to do if you are the victim of a crime.
- Criminal Information for Defendant (Maryland District Court) - What to do if you are charged with a crime.
- Expungement - Information on how to remove your District Court records from public access.
- What You Need to Know About Paternity (PDF) (MD Legal Aid) - A brochure that explains how paternity is established, how it can be challenged, and the legal effect of establishing paternity, which was created by the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, who provides free civil legal assistance to low-income persons throughout Maryland. (January 2007)
- What You Need to Know About Child Support: Modifications (PDF) (MD Legal Aid) - A brochure that explains the basics behind getting a court order for child support modified that was created by the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, which provides free civil legal assistance to low-income persons throughout Maryland. (January 2007)
- Glossary of Social Security Terms (PDF) (Social Security Administration) - Not sure what Social Security words mean? A special dictionary of words used by the Social Security Administration.
Spanish-English Translations of Legal Terms
- Spanish-English Translations of Legal Terms (Legal Aid Bureau) - A list of translations intended to clarify ambiguous or unusual terms for Spanish speakers for whom English is a second language.
Housing / Landlord-Tenant
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)This is the English version of the website for the federal government department responsible for housing, and the site provides information on such issues as housing discrimination and federal landlord-tenant laws.
- Landlords and Tenants (Maryland District Court) - Information for both landlord and tenants on issues of failure to pay rent, tenant complaints, enforcement of judgments against landlords, breach of lease, etc.
- Introduction for Renters (PDF) (BNI) detailed explanation of the local, state and federal laws on the relations between tenants and landlords, provided by Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides community education on housing issues. (January 2007)
- Maryland Tenants Rights: Security Deposits (PDF) (MD Legal Aid) This a brochure that explains the basics behind security deposits: what they are, when a tenant must pay them, how to get your security deposit back, and what to do if you have a problem with your security deposit, created by the Legal Aid Bureau of MD, who provides free civil legal assistance to low-income people throughout Maryland. (January 2007)
- You Don't Have to Live Like This: Tenants Guide to Legal Self-Help In Rent Escrow Cases (PDF) (MD Legal Aid) This is a guide that is designed to familiarize tenants with Marylands Rent Escrow law. It is intended to inform tenants of their right to live in property that does not threaten their lives, health or safety, as well as to equip tenants to represent themselves in court whenever their landlords refuse to make necessary repairs in their homes.
- District Court Information - Go here for an introduction to and explanation of Marylands District Court system.
- District Court Forms and Brochures - The District Court of Maryland provides brochures to explain the process for different matters that take place in the District Court. These matters include:
- Bad Checks (HTML) - How to file bad check violation/restitution. Criminal Complaints (HTML) - How to file a criminal complaint.
- Criminal Defendants (HTML) - The rights and process afforded to a person charged with a crime.
- How to Collect Property (HTML)- The means to retake possession of property you believe you are entitled to through the processes called Detinue and Replevin.
- How To Remove a Criminal Record (PDF) through a process called expungement. (September 2008)
- Landlord-Tenant Disputes (HTML) - Rights of landlord and tenants in various disputes and the legal process for resolving them.
- Mediation (HTML) - Explanation of alternatives to resolving disputes outside of legal process. (July 2008)
- Small Claims Action (HTML) - Explanation of what is a small claim, and how to file one. (March 2007)
- How To Collect a Judgment (HTML)- Explanation of means available to collect a judgment when you have won a claim in District court. (June 2008)
- Traffic Citations (HTML)- Explains the rights afforded to you when you receive a traffic citation and what legal process you may encounter.
- Transcripts and Recordings (HTML)- Transcript request form.
- Wage Garnishment (Maryland District Court) - Information on garnishment of wages, including the law and rules, definitions and procedures.
- Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants (PDF) (USCIS) - A guide created by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that discusses a wide variety of issues, such as rights and responsibilities as an immigrant, maintaining current status, federal benefits, and much more. (September 2007)
Maryland Policy on Providing Translation and Interpreter Services
- Your Rights to Interpretation And Translation From Maryland State Agencies (Maryland Legal Assistance Network) Information about and explanation of the Maryland law that requires many of the Maryland state government agencies and programs to help you if you have trouble with English. (May 2007).
- To request an interpreter - You have the right to have an interpreter when you have a case in the Maryland courts. You can print out the request form and take it to court as one way of asking for an interpreter. For more information contact the court ADA Coordinator.
- Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home (EPA)
- Protect Your Children From Lead Poisoning (EPA)
- Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home (EPA)
Finding Legal Help
The Maryland Legal Assistance Network (MLAN) supports the work of the organizations providing free legal help to people in Maryland with low and moderate incomes. Many organizations provide help in other languages. This section is a gateway to the written information currently available in Maryland.
You may also contact these legal organizations that can provide help using over-the-telephone interpreters in over 145 languages. If you are comfortable reading some English or have a friend who can help, you can find more information on these legal organization and others by searching this directory.
Other sources of legal help:
- Free Legal Advice for Howard County Residents - Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN) (410-992-1923) is a Columbia, Maryland based non-profit organization that provides free legal advice on immigration, housing, domestic violence, health, and employment issues. When you call the office you can request a Spanish-speaking counselor. All walk-ins are welcome. FIRN is open Monday and Tuesday 8:30a.m. to 5:00pm, Thursday and Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. See FIRN's brochure for a full list of services.
- Legal Advice on Immigration Issues - Associated Catholic Charities of Baltimore (410-534-8015, fax 410-675-1451) provides a full range of immigration-related legal assistance, including assistance with applications for non-immigrant and immigrant visas, to change or extend legal status, for naturalization, for work permits and temporary protected status, and for asylum; as well as assistance with defenses against deportation. They have Spanish speakers on staff. Call (410) 534-8015 Monday thru Frinday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for an appointment Clients should bring with them their passport or other ID and any documents relating to their case. The usual consultation fee is $60. Collect phone calls will not be accepted.
- Legal Advice on Race Discrimination Issues - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland defends the constitutional and civil rights of thousands of Marylanders, and race discrimination cases make up the majority of their work. The ACLU provides phone intake (443-524-2558) in Spanish on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Legal Advice on Disability Issues - Maryland Disability Law Center (410-727-6352 ext "0" or 1-800-233-7201 ext "0") defends the rights of individuals with disabilities in the State of Maryland and they can provide assistance in Spanish. Calls about education or special education matters are only accepted Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 10 a.m. and noon. Calls about all other matters are accepted Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Legal Advice for Domestic Violence Victims - Domestic Violence Center (410-997-0304) provides an array of services focusing on prevention, intervention and advocacy for the victims of domestic violence, and offices and shelters in Howard County, Maryland. They have Spanish speakers on staff and they also have a hotline that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (410-997-2272, 800-752-0191) that provides assistance in Spanish.
- Legal Advice on Employment Issues - CASA of Maryland Legal Services (301-431-4185) provides legal assistance, in Spanish, in employment law issues.
- Legal Information for Crime Victims - The Stephanie Roper Foundation now known as the Maryland Crime Victim's Resource Center, Inc. (MCVRC) can be reached at 877-VICTIM-1. MCVRC provides Spanish speaking referrals for eligible Maryland crime victims, criminal justice information, therapeutic counseling, and representation. The Foundation has an English speaking operator, but if you leave them your name and number, an interpreter will call you back.
- Senior Hotline - Run by the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, this Hotline (800-999-8904) is available to elderly individuals with legal questions. These may include questions about public benefits, Medicare, long term care, access to health care, advance directives, as well as issues of neglect and abuse, consumer protection, and many other issues.
Finding Free Translation
Unfortunately, we have not been able to translate all of the material on this website into your language. There is a great deal of material here that might be of interest. One way to get an idea of what any website or document says is to use one of the free machine translation websites listed below. While a machine can only give a very general idea, it can help you to decide which sections might be worth finding a human translator to help you read. In order to use the sites, you will need to be able to read enough English to follow the instructions.
- Free Translation offers an easy and quick translation from English to Spanish.
Finding Information on the Web
- Search for information on health, sports, politics, etc. - Yahoo offers the search engine Yahoo! Espanol. It allows you to search for information on health, sports, politics, science, art and culture, completely in Spanish. Yahoo! Espanol includes extensive information on health and directs users to other Spanish links. However, other subject areas on the website such as education, family, government, and jobs do not contain the same amount of useful (practical and local) information in Spanish.
- Social Security – The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the federal government agency that administers social security, a way for Americans to automatically save money for the future. You can view SSA’s site on social security and immigration in Spanish. Here, all your questions will be answered regarding getting a social security card, visa classifications, employment, students, refugees and asylum. There are also links to other helpful government agencies. In addition, you can get information in Spanish at 1-800-772-1213.
- You have the right not to be discriminated against based on national origin - (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Health Issues:
- Healthfinder is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal government agency established to protect the health of and provide necessary human services to all Americans. Healthfinder is a free guide to reliable consumer health information. You can search the Healthfinder in Spanish for topics including children’s health, health care, and diseases.
Spanish Legal Dictionaries/Glossaries Available Online
Legal terms can be confusing. These links provide access to legal dictionaries and glossary in Spanish that come from reputable sources, such as state courts, state legal services associations, and federal agencies. Because the glossaries are organized alphabetically by the English word, if you are looking for the English equivalent of a particular Spanish word it may be helpful to go over the glossary with someone who understands English, such as a friend or an attorney. While they may require some searching, these glossaries are all helpful resources in trying to understand legal issues and terminology in your native language.
- English-Spanish Legal Glossary (PDF) (Superior Court of California) Extensive glossary of legal terms, created by the Superior Court of California Sacramento County.
- Glossary of IRS Terms (PDF) (Internal Revenue Service) English-Spanish Glossary of terms used in IRS forms and publications.
- English-Spanish Glossary of Legal (and Related) Terms & Courthouse Signs (PDF) (Administrative Office for the NJ Courts) This is a glossary not only of common legal terms, but also of signs and postings that one would encounter in a typical courthouse that has been prepared by Language Services Section of the Administrative Office of the Courts for New Jersey. (January 2008)
- English-Spanish Legal Terminology Glossary (HTML) (Utah State Courts) A basic but helpful English-Spanish glossary created by the Utah State Courts that contains key legal terms.
- English-Spanish Dictionary of Common Legal Terms (HTML) (NY Unified Court System) A dictionary of commonly used legal terms that not only provides the Spanish equivalent of English legal terms, but also provides a definition of the word, created by the New York Unified Court System.