Understanding Protective Orders in Maryland

Many people need a protective order. We cannot avoid it and never know when we need it. A court may issue a protection order, sometimes a restraining order. To help safeguard a victim of domestic abuse, a recent sexual assault, or an attempted sexual assault that was committed.

Anyone, a vulnerable adult, from physical abuse, regardless of their relationship, or a child who has been sexually abused by anyone or has been hurt physically or mentally by a parent, family/household member, caretaker, or others is protected by a domestic violence protective order.

Different jurisdictions have different rules governing restraining and personal protection orders. However, they all specify who can file for one, what protection or relief one can receive from it, and how it will be implemented.

The court may impose restrictions on the opposing party’s conduct or mandate that particular rules be followed. The offender may be arrested and prosecuted for violating the order by failing to follow it. In some countries, violations can also be considered civil or criminal contempt of court.
Protective and peace orders are the two categories of restraining orders available in Maryland.

Protective Order Counts Abuse in the Following:

  • A physical act that results in substantial bodily harm (such as biting, stabbing, shooting, thrusting, choking, strangling, or suffocating)
  • Abusive behavior that makes someone fear they will suffer significant bodily injury soon (including threats of harm);
  • Assault;
  • Sexual violence or rape (including attempts like violence against women)
  • False imprisonment;
  • Damage to a young child, physically and mentally
  • Stalking
  • Revenge porn

Divorce With A Plan assists you in determining if an abuse detailed above has occurred and whether it rises to the level that the court, in general, will hold a respondent responsible for. Once that is determined, we are focused on analyzing whether that offense should be dealt with criminally and what other remedies should be sought based on the above occurrence.

Eligible for a Protective Order

You must fit into one of the following categories to be qualified for a protective order:

  • A spouse of the abuser, either present or past
  • cohabitant of an abuser;
  • A person who is a family member, marital, or adoptive relative;
  • A parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of the respondent or person who qualifies for relief who dwells (or resided) with the respondent or person during the 90 days before the petition of filing;
  • A vulnerable adult;
  • An individual who shares a child with the respondent;
  • A person who had sex with the abuser within the year before seeking relief; or
  • A person who asserts that the respondent committed rape, a sexual offense, or tried to commit rape or a sexual offense within six months of the petition’s filing.

Divorce With A Plan is focused on helping you determine that, even with the petitioner being found to be a person in need, based on the facts, it’s worth it to move forward with a protective order petition.

Getting Protection Under The law

To obtain a domestic violence protective order against your abuser, you must undergo a two- or three-step process. You must focus on whether or not you can convince a judge that you continue to be in fear of danger based on an event that occurred and you did not instigate
Divorce With A Plan is focused on assisting people in creating plans to determine how a protective order protects a family as they transition out of a contentious relationship. We are focused on creating futures for families beyond the protective order hearing.

What Must Be Done?

  • Take pictures of any apparent bruises.
  • For any police reports, obtain copies.
  • Find out whether anyone witnessed the abuse and get that person to speak on your behalf.
  • Speak to the police about laying criminal charges if you haven’t already.
  • Get copies of your most recent pay stubs, any income (pay stubs), or bank information you may have regarding the abuser if you seek financial relief (also known as Emergency Family Maintenance).

The Three Types of protective orders

Interim protective orders

The closest district court commissioner can help you petition for a temporary order if you need to file a protection order. Still, the court clerk’s office is closed in both the circuit and district courts. Once a law enforcement officer has served the respondent, an interim order becomes effective.

A temporary hearing is often scheduled for a court to meet within a few days unless the judge decides to postpone it. Until then, the interim order is in effect. The interim protective order will remain in place until the court is open the following day. At that point, the judge must schedule a temporary protective order hearing if the court is closed on the day the interim protective order is set to expire.

Temporary protective orders

You can request a temporary protection order when you appear in court during regular business hours to file for a final protective order, which may be granted the same day. Without the abuser being present and without a formal court hearing, this order may be given “ex parte.”

Law enforcement must serve the abuser “immediately” after the order is issued if they are not in court. The abuser can be served with the temporary order in court if they were already served with the interim order and are present, or if they do not appear in court, it will be served by mail.

A complete court hearing will be convened for a final protection order after the interim order has been in place for seven days following the service date. When the court is closed on the day the temporary protective order is set to expire, the order will remain in place until the second day the court is open. By that time, the judge must convene a final protective order hearing. The judge may extend the temporary injunction as needed, but not for more than six months.

Final protective orders

Only after both parties have had a chance to submit their evidence and testimony in a full court hearing can a final protection order be imposed. The judge may issue a final protection order if the abuse has been determined to have occurred or if the abuser consents to you receiving the protective order. A final protective order typically lasts up to one year unless otherwise stated. However, if one of the following conditions are met:

  • If the abuser assaulted you again within a year of your previous order expiring and you had an earlier ruling against them that was valid for at least six months, or
  • A 2-year order will be granted if the abuser agrees within a year of the expiration of your previous final protection order against them.