Seeking immediate protection from an abuser is important for your safety. In Maryland, you can either file for a protective order or a peace order. Both of these options mean that your abuser will be arrested if they contact you or come near your home, school, or place of work. Keep reading to learn more about protective orders.
Step 1: Gather Evidence
Before you officially begin the process of applying for a protective order or a peace order, it’s important that you gather as much evidence as you can. This includes things like:
- Pictures of any visible bruises on your body
- Copies of any police reports
- Criminal charges filings
- Financial information about yourself and your abuser (if seeking financial relief)
Step 2: File for Immediate Protection
The next thing you’ll need to do is file a Petition for Protection in either the District Court or Circuit Court in your county.
If the courts are closed when you are seeking protection, you can fill out the petition at the office of the District Court Commissioner in your county. If you do this, you will immediately see a commissioner after submitting the application, and after hearing your case, they may grant an Interim Protective Order or Interim Peace Order. The Interim Order will last until the end of the second business day after issuance or at the Temporary Protection or Peace Hearing.
If the courts are open when you decide to file, you will immediately see a judge after filing to argue your case. The judge may then grant a temporary protective order. This order will last up until seven days after law enforcement has given your abuser a copy of the order or until the court holds a final restraining order hearing.
Step 3: Have a Final Hearing
When you receive a Temporary Protective Order or a Temporary Peace Order, the judge will schedule another hearing one week later for a Final Hearing. Again, you must attend the hearing and argue your case. At the end of the hearing, the judge may grant a Protective Order that lasts for up to one year or a Peace Order that lasts up to six months.
A Final Note
Filing for a restraining order is an emotional and sometimes scary ordeal. That’s why it’s recommended to hire a family law attorney in Baltimore that can fight for you throughout the process. Let Alan Billian help. We’ll offer professional advice and represent you in court. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.