Commonly known as “restraining orders,” protective orders are orders issued by the court on behalf of a petitioning party (known as the “petitioner”) that restrict certain actions of another (known as the “respondent”). In Maryland, protective orders can be obtained when an individual has been abused by someone with whom they have a specific type of relationship, such as a spouse, ex-spouse, or relative. If the relationship between the two parties does not qualify the petitioner to file for a protective order, they may instead seek a peace order.
At Albers & Associates, we assist individuals in seeking all types of protective orders, as well as taking legal action when such orders are violated. Our Maryland protective order attorneys understand the urgency of your situation, which is why we act fast when it comes to determining your eligibility and filing the necessary paperwork. To learn how our team can assist you with your protective order, reach out to Albers & Associates today.
Call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.
What Does a Protective Order Do?
Generally speaking, a protective order restricts the respondent’s ability to carry out certain actions, including contacting or attempting to contact the petitioner in any way.
In Maryland, protective orders mandate that abusers immediately stop:
- All acts of abuse
- Threatening abuse
- Contacting or attempting to contact the petitioner
- Harassing the petitioner
- Entering the petitioner’s home/current residence
- Going to the petitioner’s temporary residence, school, work, etc.
- Going to the homes/current residences of the petitioner’s family members
- Going near a childcare provider when the petitioner’s child is in the care of the provider
A protective order may also require the abuser to immediately leave the home they share with the petitioner (if they live together), and it may award temporary custody, use, or possession of the shared home to the petitioner. If child abuse is alleged, the protective order may grant temporary custody of any children involved to the petitioner, as well as establish temporary visitation.
In some cases, protective orders can also provide miscellaneous relief, such as temporary possession/use of a jointly owned vehicle, mandatory counseling, the payment of all related fees and court costs, and the immediate surrender of any firearms owned or possessed by the abuser.
What Are the Different Types of Protective Orders in Maryland?
The state of Maryland offers four different types of protective orders:
- Interim Protective Orders: Often referred to as an “emergency restraining order,” an interim protective order allows the petitioner to file a Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence with the District Court Commissioner’s office when the courts are closed. The Commissioner’s office is open 24/7, allowing victims of abuse the ability to seek protection at any time. Once an interim protective order has been issued, a temporary protective order hearing will be set.
- Temporary Protective Orders: Temporary protective orders are granted by a judge at the conclusion of a temporary protective order hearing when the judge reasonably believes that the petitioner has suffered abuse by the respondent. Temporary protective orders last just seven days; following this, a final protective order hearing will be held to determine if the protective order’s duration should be extended.
- Final Protective Orders: Final protective orders are granted after an interim and/or temporary protective order has been issued. During the final protective order hearing, the petitioner can state why they believe they are eligible for protection for up to 12 or 18 months. It is important that the petitioner has sufficient evidence to prove their position at the hearing, and the hearing can only be held once the alleged abuser has been notified.
- Permanent Protective Orders: Permanent protective orders are rare, but they are issued in certain situations. These include situations in which the alleged abuser was convicted for the abusive act that led to the initial protective order, was sentenced to at least five years in prison, and has served at least 12 months of their sentence, or instances in which the alleged abuser committed an abusive act against the petitioner during the term of a protective order, was convicted for that abusive act, sentenced to at least five years imprisonment, and has served at least 12 months of their sentence.
Qualifying for a Protective Order
To be eligible for a protective order, you must prove two things:
- You were abused
- The abuser was someone with whom you had a specific, qualifying relationship
Various forms of physical, sexual, and psychological violence count as “abuse” when it comes to being eligible for a protective order in Maryland.
Examples of such abuse include:
- Physical assault leading to bodily harm, such as punching, kicking, scratching, slapping, biting, choking, strangling, shoving, stabbing, shooting, etc.
- Any act that causes the victim to be fearful of imminent bodily harm, such as pointing a gun at someone or threatening serious harm
- Sexual assault, including rape and attempted rape
- Revenge porn
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- Causing mental injury to a minor (any child under the age of 18)
In addition to proving that you suffered some form of abuse, you must also prove that you and the person against whom you are seeking the protective order had a certain type of relationship, as outlined by state law.
You may be eligible for a protective order in Maryland if you and the alleged abuser:
- Are spouses or ex-spouses
- Share the same household
- Are related by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Have a parent-child or stepparent-stepchild relationship
- Share a child
- Had a sexual relationship within the past year
You may also qualify if you are a vulnerable adult, such as an elderly individual or person with a mental disability, or if the alleged abuser committed a sexual offense, such as rape or attempted rape, against you within the past six months.
What Is a Peace Order?
In Maryland, peace orders are very similar to protective orders in that they prevent alleged abusers from engaging in certain behaviors, including contact or attempting to contact victims. In fact, the main difference between a protective order and a peace order is that peace orders are issued to petitioners who do not qualify for a protective order.
For example, if someone was abused by a coworker, the employer may file for a peace order on the abused worker’s behalf, but the worker would not qualify for a protective order because the relationship (coworkers) is not one that is eligible for a protective order in Maryland. Another example of when a peace order may be issued would be a case in which someone is being stalked by a stranger, or if someone was physically assaulted by a neighbor.
When to File for a Protective Order
While a protective order cannot absolutely guarantee that your abuser will stop their behavior, it does set certain protections in place and helps ensure that they will face serious criminal consequences if they violate the terms of the order. If you have been abused, are being abused, or have reason to believe that someone may abuse you or your child, you should consider filing for a protective order in Maryland. If you do not qualify for a protective order, you may be eligible for a peace order.
We strongly urge you to reach out to our team at Albers & Associates as soon as possible. Our Maryland protective order lawyers care about you and the safety of your family. That’s why we work quickly when it comes to petitioning for protective orders, taking the necessary steps to obtain immediate safeguards for you and your loved ones.
How a Restraining Order Attorney Can Help
At Albers & Associates, we can assist you at any stage of the process, from filing a petition for an interim or temporary protective order to preparing for your temporary or final protective order hearing. We can help you gather evidence to prove your case during the final protective order hearing or, if necessary, seek a permanent protective order. If the person against whom you have taken the order violated its terms, we can also help you take legal action.
We can also help if you have had a protective order taken out against you, or if you have been accused of domestic violence or of violating the terms of a protective order. At Albers & Associates, we are well-versed in all aspects of Maryland protective order laws and procedures; our legal team is ready to answer your questions and guide you through the legal process.
For a confidential consultation, call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online using our secure form.