The state of Maryland provides protection to individuals who have been going through any kind of abuse. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse or any kind of mistreatment, you can apply for and get Protective Orders or Peace Orders against the person threatening or hurting you. The Protective and Peace Orders are more commonly referred to as Restraining Orders in other states. You can petition for either of these orders depending on the particular situation you’re in.
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At Jezic & Moyse, we have handled hundreds of Protective and Peace Order hearings. If you need our assistance in making sure such an Order is granted and then re-issued, we will make sure that the best presentation is made to the judge, with the least amount of anxiety for you. On other hand, if you have been served with a Protective Order or Peace Order, we will aggressively defend you, so as to help obtain a clean record and vindication. Or if you choose to negotiate, we will fight to obtain the most favorable terms possible.
Protective Orders are Typically Related to Domestic Violence
Victims of domestic violence can apply for Protective Orders by applying at the District and Circuit Courts. Here are the conditions under which you’re eligible for protection:
- You’re currently married or were married to the respondent (the person hurting you).
- You lived with the respondent for at least 90 days within a one year period.
- You have a child with the respondent.
- You’re related to the respondent by blood, adoption, or marriage.
- You’re a parent, step-parent, or a step-child.
- You’ve had a sexual relationship with the respondent within the last one year.
The entire process of filing a petition in court and getting the Protective Order is typically a three-step process. You’ll get an Interim Order at the first step after which a hearing is conducted where both, the respondent and petitioner are present in court.
Once the courts pass the Protective Order, the accused person is asked to stay away from the victim for a period of 12 months. This term can also be extended.
Peace Orders are Related to Situations Other than Domestic Violence
Any individuals who are not in a domestic situation but are victims of abuse can file for Peace Orders. You’re eligible for petitioning for this order at a District Court. After an Interim Order, the courts will have a hearing where you’ll face the respondent. Once the courts pass the order, the accused will be ordered to stay away from you for a period of at least 6 months. If you fear for your safety after this period, you can petition to have the Peace Order extended for another term.
Here are the particular situations where you can apply for and get the order.
- Any acts committed against you that resulted in serious bodily harm
- Any acts that make you fearful of possible bodily harm
- Stalking and harassment
- Sexual assault or rape; attempts can also qualify
- Restraining without having any legal authority
- Destroying your property with malicious intent
- Using the phone or any other electronic communication to hurt or intimidate you
If you think you need protection, it is best that you get in touch with an expert attorney, explain your situation, and get the necessary advice on the next steps to take.
How to Petition for a Protective Order or Peace Order
With the assistance of your attorney, you can file a petition in court during regular business hours. Having filed the petition, you’ll appear before a judge who will ask questions to understand the reasons why you’re requesting a Protective or Peace Order. You’ll answer under oath and must provide reasonable proof that the respondent committed the acts that you’ve described. If the judge is convinced by a "preponderance of the evidence" that the accused has, in fact, committed the acts, a temporary order is granted.
The Protective or Peace Order is effective as soon as a law enforcement officer serves the notice to the accused person. Typically, a final hearing is scheduled after seven days. Both you and the respondent can present relevant evidence. The judge will pass the final order if a preponderance of the evidence is found that the accused did, in fact, commit the acts that they are accused of.
Protective Orders and Peace Orders Provide Protection to the Applicant
Once the judge finds that you’re eligible for protection, the Protective or Peace Order is passed. In addition, the judge may order any other relief orders to provide you complete protection. In case of a Peace Order, the accused can be ordered to:
- Stop abusing or threatening to abuse you
- Keep distance from your home, school, place of work, or any other location where you may be present
- Submit firearms to a law enforcement agency and not possess any firearms for the duration of the Protective Order
- Not have any lawful or unlawful contact with you; even if the respondent sees you, they must turn around and walk away
- Not try to contact you in any way
If you have successfully obtained a Protective Order, the respondent can be asked to:
- Give you temporary use and ownership of the shared residence
- Give you temporary custody of the minor children and pets, if there are any
- Provide temporary financial support
Rest assured that the courts take the Protective Order and Peace Order very seriously. In case the respondents violate the order, they could be charged, contemptible offense, and a criminal charge. A jail term can also be awarded.
Ready to find out more?
If you are considering filing for a protective order, you don’t have to go through the complicated process alone. Our experienced and dedicated protective order attorneys can provide you with the best legal advice concerning your situation, and guide you through to a safer situation. Contact us today to discuss your options!
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