Domestic abuse unfortunately happens far too often. We don’t live in a perfect world, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Victims of abuse have the ability to seek out a protective order, which can protect them. We wanted to take some time today to talk about what a protective order is/does and how you can get one.
What Exactly is a Protective Order?
A protective order in short is a way to protect abuse victims. By getting a protective order in Maryland you are ensuring that your abuser cannot:
- Abuse, harass, or disturb the peace of you or any member of your household.
- Contact you or any member of your household, both directly and indirectly.
- Enter your property.
- Destroy any of your property.
If you’re currently being abused, or are fearful of abuse, then getting a protective order could be just what you need. But who is eligible for them and how can you get one?
Are You Eligible for a Protective Order?
Not just anyone is eligible for a protective order. There are several different categories that could qualify you,. In order to be eligible you must fall into one of the following categories:
- A current or former spouse of the abuser.
- A cohabitant of an abuser who is having a sexual relationship with the abuser and has lived with them in the home for at least 90 days some time within the last year.
- A person who had a sexual relationship with the abuser within the past year.
- Related to the abuser by blood, marriage, or adoption.
- A parent, stepparent, or stepchild, and have lived with the abuser for at least 90 days within the past year.
- A vulnerable adult (an adult who does not have the mental or physical capabilities to provide for his/her own daily needs).
- A person who has a child with the abuser.
For more information on these qualifications, please visit the People’s Law Library of Maryland. (https://www.peoples-law.org/details-who-eligible-protective-order)
Additionally, if you don’t qualify for a protective order you may still qualify for a peace order. (https://www.peoples-law.org/peace-orders)
How Can I Obtain a Protective Order?
The process of filing for a protective order is not quite as simple and easy as you may think. In fact it is actually a bit of a strenuous process. The first thing you will need to do is fill out a petition at the office of the District Court Commissioner, following this you will meet with a commissioner who has a range of options at his/her disposal. They could issue an interim protective order, could order the abuser to leave your home, order them to stay away from your home, business, school, job, etc. as well as other options.
After this, a similar process will need to be conducted at either the District or Circuit Court, where a judge will decide on how to proceed and whether to extend the interim protective order into a temporary one, which lasts up to 7 days. Finally a protective order hearing will be held and again a judge will decide on how to proceed. There are a number of options the judge has, including the issuance of a protective order. Protective orders in Maryland last for no longer than a year, though they can be extended beyond that. Violation of a protective order can result in a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days.
Do You Need Help With a Protective Order in Maryland?
We understand how stressful the protective order proceedings can be, especially when it’s all just stress being added on top of the stress of being abused. That’s why we’re here to help. We have helped many men and women receive protective orders over the years, and we can help you too.
If you’re in need of a Maryland protective order, don’t wait any longer. Give us a call today, and we can help you get your proceedings started ASAP.