How Can You Drop a Protective Order? - A Guide to Removing Protections in Maryland

Protective orders serve a purpose, but what if the aim is past or a person has changed their behavior? Requesting to rescind or dismiss a protective order is possible, and here is what you need to know to remove protective orders:

  • Withdrawing a protective order, the reasons someone would want to remove safeguards;
  • Ending the order as the petitioner or the one who filed for protections, how they can lift the order; And
  • Order of protection filed against you, how to get it dropped as the respondent.

Why Would Someone Want to Withdraw a Protective Order?

There are many reasons a person gets a protective order, and there are also reasons why they would drop the order before it expires. For example, being in a relationship can cause issues between the couple, and arguments or spats may get out of hand. Sometimes a protective order allows both parties to be separate and work through any problems before coming back together.

A person cannot stop following the rules of the protection order and think it is dismissed. The court makes the order, and only the court can remove the protections afforded, so a person must ask or file to drop the order.

Here are some common reasons people drop protective orders:

  1. Reconciliation/Settled differences
  2. Children
  3. Undergone anger management and violence therapy or counseling
  4. Achieved sobriety

All these reasons show that the aggressor is no longer a threat to the petitioner. Removing the danger that got the order granted is a big step toward lifting a protective order.

Any party can request to remove the protections, but there are slightly different ways to do that depending on if you are the petitioner or the respondent on the order. Either way, a hearing is held, and reasons are needed to show why the protective order should be dropped.

How the Petitioner Withdraws a Protective Order (the person who filed for protection)

It is going to take a judge's ruling to lift the protective order. Being the petitioner in the order, or the one asking for protection, requires proof that you were not coerced, manipulated, or threatened by the respondent into lifting the protective order.

Start by filing the proper paperwork with the court. The parties involved are then notified of the request to modify or rescind. Finally, a hearing is scheduled.

At the hearing, the petitioner will need to show that protections are no longer necessary. Any reason can be given, and it does not necessarily need to be a specific reason. Even doing so, a judge still may not lift the order. If they believe the request is coerced or see a pattern of abusive behavior and reconciliation between the parties, the order might stay in place.

If the judge believes the reasons for lifting the order are valid, the judge may rule to vacate or rescind the protective order, removing all safeguards. However, the judge could also not fully lift the order and modify it to remove some protections like no contact so that children can be visited, but leave safeguards such as no abusive behavior intact.

Even though the respondent needs to be notified of the request, they do not appear at this hearing. Their presence could make it appear to a judge they are there to intimidate the petitioner into rescinding the protective order.

The process is simple for the petitioner. First, file the paperwork, attend the hearing, and provide valid reasons to rescind the protective order. A respondent, on the other hand, has a little more work to do.

How a Respondent Modifies a Protective Order (the person the protective order is filed against)

The same rules apply to the respondent as they do to the petitioner. The person the order is filed against will also need to file a motion to modify or rescind with the court and attend a hearing to provide reasons to lift the safeguard.

Reasons are usually associated with the order's restrictions, like not being able to see their children because of the protective order in place. However, the respondent must also show their behavior has changed, and they no longer pose a threat or danger to the petitioner.

Attending drug or alcohol rehabilitative services, domestic violence counseling, and therapy are a few solid pieces of proof the respondent is changing their behavior. This proof includes letters or testimony from therapists and counselors corroborating the behavior change.

Also, having the petitioner appear for this hearing is a positive piece of proof since they can testify as to why the protective order is no longer needed against the respondent.

More proof is needed for a respondent to have a protective order dropped. Unlike the petitioner, a respondent's reasons have to be specific and carry proof. Since the protections are against the respondent, they must prove the protective order is unnecessary with testimony and evidence to convince a judge.

Again, the judge may or may not rescind the order after hearing all the evidence. They may only modify it, or they could keep them in place and extend the order. Filing, attending the hearing, and supplying proof do not guarantee the protective order gets lifted.

There is also a way that both the respondent and petitioner together can rescind a protective order.

Bonus – No Plaintiff, No Complaint

Protective orders begin as temporary and then at a hearing can become permanent or rescinded. Maryland airs on the side of caution when it comes to domestic violence, so temporary protective orders are issued first and then holding a hearing where both parties get to tell their side of the story.

 

It is possible that before the hearing, both parties reconcile and decide there is no need for a protective order. In that case, if both parties do not show up to the hearing, the order is no longer valid.

 

Without a plaintiff for the prosecution, there is no need for a protective order since the party shows no interest in the order staying active. You need a plaintiff to prove protections are warranted, and without one, there is no need for them.

 

The name says it all; protective orders protect. If there is no longer a need for those protections, then it is time to pursue having them dismissed. Contact JC Law today for a free initial consultation about your protective order case. Let us show you how we can help to remove restrictions limiting your life.

 

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