- What is a peace order?
A peace order is a court order that prohibits one person from contacting another person in any way. They are not allowed to visit them at their residence, school, place of employment, or other public locations. Peace orders can be taken out against any adult at any time.
- Is a peace order the same as a protective order?
While both orders offer some similar protections, they are not identical. A protective order is intended for someone that the requestor has been in a personal relationship with. They may be taken out against a spouse, romantic partner, relative or someone that the person may have had a child with. Peace orders are generally used for coworkers, school classmates, business associates, and even complete strangers.
- Why should I request a peace order?
If you’ve been bothered by someone you know who isn’t related to you or that you’ve had a personal relationship with, you may want to think about requesting a peace order. They may come in handy when dealing with a coworker who doesn’t leave you alone or the person in class who makes you feel uncomfortable, for example. Peace orders will not allow those people to talk to you or contact you no matter where you go in the state of Maryland.
- How can I ask for a peace order?
You can start by filing for a peace order in your local district court. There will be a petition for you to complete. Peace orders cannot be requested from a circuit court. If the order is approved, the court will only grant the minimal amount of relief that is required to protect the petitioner from the person who has been bothering them.
- What kinds of peace orders are there?
There are three types of peace orders: interim, temporary and final peace orders. Interim peace orders are the first level. The petition will be filed with the district court. Then you will see a commissioner and be asked to explain the reasons why you’re asking for a peace order. If approved, the interim peace order will be sent to the district court and local law enforcement. The person that the petition was filed against (also referred to as the respondent) will be served with a copy of the peace order.
The interim peace order will also include the tentative location, day and time for any temporary and final peace order hearings that may be necessary. Temporary peace orders will be filed in district court, where the applicant will be required to fill out another petition. This time, a judge will hear the petitioner’s request. The respondent may attend the temporary peace order hearing if they want.
If the judge approves the temporary peace order, it will be sent to the respective local law enforcement office. The respondent will be served with a copy of the order. The order will contain details for a possible final protective order hearing. Both parties are typically required to attend the final peace order hearing. The judge in the final peace order hearing may or may not be the same person who presided over the interim peace order hearing. Evidence and testimony will be heard before a decision is made. If a final peace order is granted, both the respondent and petitioner will be provided with copies of that order.
- How much do peace orders cost?
There is a service fee of $40 and a filing fee of $46 charged by the state of Maryland for peace orders. The court may opt to waive the filing fee if the petitioner is unable to pay it. The service fee cannot be waived for any reason.
- How long are peace orders valid for?
An interim peace order will end on the second business day after it has been issued. If the district court is closed on that day, then the interim peace order will expire on the next day that the court is open. Temporary peace orders usually only last for 7 days from the time that the respondent was first served with a copy of the order. A judge may choose to extend that peace order for up to 30 days if a good cause can be proven. Final peace orders will list their expiration date. The maximum amount of time that a final peace order will be valid for is 6 months unless another hearing is held and good cause is found to extend that order for an additional 6 months.
- Can I stop a peace order?
A peace order may be terminated, if necessary, after another hearing has been held. The respondent, petitioner, and all other involved parties must be informed of that request. If they are not, the peace order will remain in place until it is scheduled to expire.
- Can I request changes to my peace order?
Modifications to peace orders may be granted according to the specific situation. Depending on the circumstances, it may be better to ask for the current peace order to end and to file for a new peace order. You may make the request yourself or with the assistance of legal counsel.
- Are there any penalties if the other person violates the peace order?
You should contact law enforcement as soon as possible if the other person continues to harass or threaten you or visit you at your school, home, or place of employment. The respondent may be charged with a misdemeanor if they refuse to comply with the peace order. They could also be subject to a fine of no more than $1,000 and/or a prison term that will not exceed 90 days. These penalties can be increased for each subsequent offense.
If you need to file a peace order, contact us to set up a free consultation. Our trained staff will sit down and listen to you. They will provide advice and be prepared to represent you in court if you want. Our ultimate goal is for you to get back to loving life again. Filing a peace order against someone may be uncomfortable but very essential for your own peace of mind.