Maryland Protective Orders And Peace Orders
Save yourself and your family from domestic abuse and physical violence – actual or threatened – with an interim or temporary protective order.
JC Law has represented clients in need of help regarding Protective & Peace orders since in inception of the law several decades ago. We realize that many claims are exaggerated or false altogether. Partners may use this law as an offensive tool to get you removed from your home, get custody of children and even have monetary orders put in place.
Often, a protective or Peace order will be accompanied by a criminal assault or other charge. It is extremely important that you speak with one of our qualified lawyers to create a game plan to guide you through this.
Below are some common questions and answers.
What Is A “Protective Order” In Maryland? How Is A Protective Order Different From A Peace Order?
Protective orders are Maryland’s version of a “restraining order.” They’re court orders issued by Maryland judges that require a named individual to stop certain behaviors – such as abuse or stalking – from the protected person for a set period of time.
Protective orders are different from Maryland peace orders in that a protective order usually focuses on protecting those in close familial or other intimate relationships against an alleged attacker or abuser. Peace orders typically are issued on behalf of someone seeking relief from a stranger’s actions.
For example, a celebrity may file a Maryland protective order from an abusive girlfriend, and a peace order to halt a fan’s obsessive stalking.
You can receive a Maryland protective order if:
- The alleged abuser is your spouse or former spouse;
- Both of you are the biological parents of the child in common;
- Both of you or any parent-child, or stepparent-stepchild relationship, and you have resided together for at least 90 days during the past year;
- Both of you have cohabitated or have been in an intimate relationship for at least 90 days during the past 12 months; or
- Both of you have been in a sexual relationship with each other for some period of time at least one year before the filing of the petition.
How Can I Get A Protective Order As Fast As Possible?
In a severe situation, Maryland wants to make sure alleged victims are protected as fast as possible until the full situation can be verified in court.
Therefore, a Maryland “petitioner” – legal speak for the person asking for the protective order – can file a “Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence” with their district court’s commissioner office. This office is open 24/7/365 for just such emergencies.
The petitioner then fills out a form detailing:
- What type of abuse they allege has occurred, including as many specific instances as possible;
- Any previous court or law enforcement records to corroborate the claims; and
- Exactly what type of protection they need.
The petitioner can also request for “Emergency Family Maintenance” if their alleged abuser is also the family financial provider at the same time.
From there, a Maryland Court Commissioner reviews the petition and may either grant or deny the request. They can order:
- The alleged abuser to cease contact or abuse at home, work, school, and any other location;
- Remove the alleged abuser from their home; and
- Award temporary custody of any shared children or family pets to the petitioner.
This petition is granted in the form of an “interim” protective order, in effect until the relevant Maryland court can hold a Temporary Protective Order hearing.
At this hearing, a Maryland judge will hear your case. You or your legal representative must prove on “reasonable grounds” that the alleged abuse occurred. This proof may be:
- Medical records;
- Court and law enforcement records;
- Text messages, emails, and other communication records; and
- Witness testimony.
When Does My Situation Qualify For An Emergency or Interim Protective Order?
If filing a petition cannot wait until normal business hours – you or your child are in immediate danger, for example – then file for an interim protective order as soon as possible.
The Maryland court Commissioner will decide if they believe your situation is urgent enough for a protective order to be granted until a judge can hear the case.
If in doubt – or worried you won’t be put together enough to make a compelling case to the commissioner – you can always consult with a family lawyer to get your legal ducks in a row before filing.
Can I Get An Interim or Temporary Protective Order Against Someone Living With Me In Maryland?
Yes, you may get a protective order – interim, temporary, or final – against an individual currently living with you.
Now, whether you or the alleged abuser moves out of the current residence depends on several factors. You may wish to move out of the place you were abused and in with a friend or family member until more permanent accommodations can be worked out, for example.
A Maryland judge can order an alleged abuser removed from shared property:
- If your name is on the lease or deed for the shared home at the time of the order; or
- You and the alleged abuser are both married at the time of the order.
Each situation is different, so consult with your lawyer to see whether you or the alleged abuser must leave the home.
How Long Do Interim And Temporary Protective Orders Last?
Interim protective orders in Maryland last for about two days, or until a judge can hear the case at a Temporary Protective Order hearing.
Temporary protective orders are effective for no more than seven days after the alleged abuser is officially served with the temporary order, or until the court may hold a Final Protective Order hearing.
A Maryland judge may extend a Temporary Protective Order for up to six months with relevant cause.
What Happens If Someone Breaks The Interim Or Temporary Protective Order?
One of the most common ways a protective order is broken is to try to talk to or otherwise contact one of the named parties.
For example, if a Maryland judge or Commissioner has issued a “no contact” requirement as part of the protective order, then texting from one party to another would break the protective order.
If the court becomes aware of protective order violations, then the violator can face misdemeanor charges with up to 180 days in jail, probation, and possibly other ramifications, as well.
What happens if someone files a criminal charge or divorce at the same time?
Often, when a Protective Order is filed it may be accompanied by a criminal assault charge or another criminal act. Many times people are served with the Protective order and they still don’t know there is a warrant or summons for a criminal charge as well. It is important that an experienced lawyer look into this ASAP because they may be able to “quash” a warrant and advise you accordingly.
Let’s say that a protective order was filed in conjunction with a divorce petition. Things like alimony, property division, and child-related issues such as custody and support are all included in a divorce decree – and Maryland judges will not react well if they discover one of the parties has broken the protective order.
If you or someone else has broken an interim or temporary protective order, then contact a lawyer immediately. There are possible steps that can be taken to mitigate the damage – and in the meantime, do your best not to break the protective order again!
What Should I Do If Someone Files A False Protective Order Against Me?
Undoubtedly, many people file protective orders to obtain a quick resolution to a matter such as a divorce or alimony requests.
Yes, like any other legal situation, some individuals fabricate scenarios and totally made-up situations that never occurred.
Maryland’s system defaults to “protect the possible victim,” rather than “prove the alleged abuser innocent.” Therefore, as soon as you receive word that a protective order – interim or temporary – has been filed against you, contact an experienced litigation firm as soon as you possibly can.
The protective order hearings can happen extremely quickly – within a week from the first petition to the final, quasi-permanent protective order – and you’ll appreciate having trial lawyers who can get the evidence you need to prove a false claim as quickly as possible.
Peace & Protective Orders have been one of the most fascinating aspects of domestic legislative change in Maryland for decades. Previous to this specific legislation Maryland had the old “Restraining Order”, which was complex and daunting. The purpose of this legislation is to quickly and effectively assist individuals who need protection. For the most part, this law has worked effectively. However, just like any scenario some individuals will take advantage and use these powerful weapons in a fraudulent way to get a “leg up” on a spouse or another.
The biggest difference with these laws is that they have extremely sharp “teeth”. Unlike the old restraining Orders, if you violate the breath of the order there are criminal ramifications.
That is why it is so important that you contact an attorney immediately. Planning and preparation often lead to the desired result. -Jim Crawford