Protective orders, also known as restraining orders, are legal documents designed to protect individuals from domestic violence, abuse, harassment, or threats from another person. In Maryland, protective orders are a critical tool in ensuring the safety and well-being of victims. Keep reading to learn how protective orders work in Maryland and the steps involved in obtaining one.
Types of Protective Orders in Maryland
Maryland offers several types of protective orders to address different situations and levels of threat. The primary types include:
- Peace Orders: Peace orders are typically issued in cases of harassment, stalking, or malicious destruction of property when there is no domestic relationship between the parties involved.
- Protective Orders: Protective orders are issued in cases of domestic violence, abuse, or threats when there is a qualifying relationship between the parties. This includes current or former spouses, cohabitants, parents, and individuals who share a child in common.
Steps to Obtain a Protective Order in Maryland
- Seek Legal Advice: If you believe you need a protective order, it’s advisable to consult an attorney or seek assistance from a local domestic violence agency for guidance on the process.
- Visit the District Court or Circuit Court: Go to your local Maryland District or Circuit Court, typically the one where you or the respondent resides. (For Peace Orders, visit the District Court)
- Complete the Petition: Obtain and complete the necessary forms for a protective order or peace order petition. These forms are available at the courthouse and online.
- Provide Detailed Information: When completing the petition, provide detailed information about the incidents of abuse or harassment, including dates, times, locations, and any witnesses. Be as specific as possible to support your case.
- File the Petition: Submit your completed petition to the clerk’s office at the District or Circuit Court. There is typically no filing fee for protective orders.
- Speak to a Judge: After filing, you may be required to speak with a judge or commissioner. They will review your petition and assess the need for a temporary protective order.
- Temporary Protective Order (TPO): If the judge or commissioner finds sufficient grounds for concern, they may issue a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) that provides immediate protection. A TPO is typically valid for up to seven days.
- Service of the Order: Law enforcement will serve a copy of the TPO to the respondent. The respondent may be required to surrender firearms if there are allegations of abuse.
- Final Protective Order Hearing: Within seven days of receiving the TPO, a final hearing will be scheduled. Both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony. The judge will determine whether to issue a final protective order, which can last up to one year.
- Enforcement and Compliance: Once a protective order is in place, it is essential to adhere to its terms and conditions. Violating a protective order is a serious offense in Maryland.
- Renewing or Modifying a Protective Order: If you need to renew or modify a protective order, you can do so by filing the appropriate paperwork with the court. Renewals can extend the order’s duration, and modifications can adjust its terms to better address your safety concerns.
Restore Your Peace of Mind
Protective orders in Maryland are a crucial legal tool for safeguarding individuals from domestic violence, harassment, and threats. Here at Alan Billian, we help Marylanders regain peace of mind by being their go-to Maryland protective order lawyer. During this emotional time, we’ll present the evidence on your behalf to ensure that your protective order is granted. Contact us now for a free 30-minute consultation.