What is a Peace Order? – Maryland's Other Version of a Restraining Order

Maryland specifically protects domestic violence or abuse victims with protective orders. A  peace order protects everybody else. 

  • Peace Orders: Maryland’s stranger danger restraining order.
  • Harassed or abused, peace orders protect against harmful acts.
  • How to get a peace order: Your step-by-step guide.

Peace Orders Protect Against Stranger Danger

Exactly like a protective order. Only protects people fearful of harm from someone other than a spouse. The old saying, “Stranger Danger,” well a peace order is that version of a restraining order in Maryland.

The fear of harm does not need to come from a stranger.  People known can also have a peace order taken out against them.

Protective orders keep someone safe from domestic violence or abuse. Family members, wives, husbands, or boyfriends and girlfriends file protective orders. Peace orders are for anyone where there is no intimate relationship involved.

Someone may have a peace order filed against them when fear of harm from them is reasonable.

One thing to keep in mind, a peace order needs to get filed within 30 days of an alleged harmful act. Protective orders get filed any time after a harmful act. The accuser also needs to show the act is likely to happen again.

Quick action is necessary to get a peace order against another.

Peace orders get harassing phone calls, texts, and threats of abuse to stop. Also, they provide stay away orders preventing the suspect from encountering the accuser.

Allegations of harm will not grant a peace order. Whoever files will need to prove at a hearing in court that a harmful act occurred. So, what acts prove a need for a peace order?

Whether Harassed or Abused a Peace Order Protects

Maryland courts protect its citizens from acts of abuse. Abusive acts peace orders protect against include:

  • Causing serious bodily harm by punching, kicking, choking, shooting, stabbing, or shoving
  • Any type of assault
  • False imprisonment
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Malicious destruction of property
  • Revenge porn
  • Misuse of telephones, computers, or other electronic devices
  • Rape
  • Sex offense

Once someone commits an abusive act, a person needs proof that it happened. Proof includes photos of injuries, police reports, and eyewitness statements.

Relief granted by peace orders last for up to six months and can extend an extra six months. Only relief deemed necessary to protect the petitioner gets granted by the court.

What Needs Done To Get a Peace Order?

Procedurally, the steps taken to get a peace order are the same as those taken to get a protective order.

Step one, fill out the correct petition form for district court. (Peace order petition form)

Step two, file the petition at the local district courthouse. If filed after business hours an interim peace order may get granted. That order lasts until the temporary hearing. (Maryland District Court directory)

Step three, appear for the temporary hearing. The hearing happens after filing, so stick around.

If a judge believes the accuser's petition, they grant a temporary peace order.

Step four, a final hearing within seven days of the temporary order occurs. During this hearing, both sides may present evidence.

Afterwards, the judge will make a ruling either for or against a final peace order based on the evidence.

Protections vary between temporary and final orders. A suspect must stop committing abuse, end contact, and keep away from the accusers home, work, or school.

A final peace order offers the above protections. Additional protections may be added. These can include participation in supervised counseling or mediation. 

A family lawyer does not need to file the petition or be present for the hearings. Getting a peace order does not need legal counsel.

Yet, having an unbiased and cooler head talk on your behalf in front of a judge, will go a long way in getting a peace order. Emotions are high and a lawyer is not involved with those emotions. Allowing for a rational argument in front of a judge.

Contact JC Law today for a free initial consultation. Find out how to stay protected from unwanted abuse or harassment.

[CHECKLIST] If you need a family lawyer or domestic legal counsel in Maryland, learn the 8 questions you must ask before retaining.