Maryland Protective Orders Lawyer

Protective orders issued by the court require a restricted party to abide by certain conditions with the threat of criminal charges should a respondent violate the conditions.  Typical conditions include an order to stay away from the petitioner or to have no contact with the petitioner. There must be a specific type of domestic relationship between the petitioner seeking the protective order and the respondent who is the subject for a judge to grant this action. If you are the respondent of this type of action, speak with a Maryland protective orders lawyer. A skilled attorney could help you challenge the action or assess the viability of the petitioner’s request.

Parties Eligible for a Protective Order

This order is unique in that it is applicable when there is a specific domestic relationship between the petitioner – the person requesting the order –  and the respondent – the person subject to the order. One party may request a protective order against a spouse, ex-spouse, a partner that used to live with them, or any family member related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

Additionally, when two people share a child, one parent may request a protective action against the other party. If an individual is seeking an order on behalf of a child, there must be a certain domestic relationship between the minor and the subject for a protective order to be applicable.

If the relationship in question does not fit into one of these categories, an individual could seek a peace order. For instance, when there is a random stranger who is bothering someone or harassing their business, they can seek a peace order against this individual.

Protective Order Process

Someone may request the issuance of a protective action by completing the proper form and submitting it to any district court clerk’s office. Then, this person may be directed to appear before a judge to explain why they need the protective order.

This individual must offer proof that the potential subject of the order threatened, harassed, or physically abused them. For example, threats and crimes of physical violence may be grounds for an order. If the judge believes there is enough evidence to support a case, they may issue an interim protective order, which gives the petitioner immediate and temporary protection.

Temporary Orders

The next step is a hearing for the issuance of a temporary protective order. This order lasts up to one week and has a similar hearing process. Again, the petitioner must offer some basis that there are reasonable grounds for the issuance of the order. This hearing takes place in front of a district court judge as opposed to a commissioner.

To receive a protective order, the petitioner must live or work in the county in which they are seeking the order. This individual must also show that they have or had a domestic relationship with the potential subject of the order that makes them eligible.

If a judge approves the issuance of a temporary order, a law enforcement officer must deliver a copy of the action to the respondent and advise them that they are subject to the order. The respondent must then appear for their court date to determine whether the temporary order may become a final protective order. It is important to note that this order has no effect until the person is served. The respondent must be aware that the order exists and understands the conditions or restrictions put into place by the judge.

The last step is the hearing for the final protective order in front of a district court judge. The petitioner again must present evidence asking for the order to be put into place. The respondent then has an opportunity to either agree with the protective action or challenge it.

At the end of the hearing, it is up to the judge to determine whether or not to issue the final protective action which may last for up to one year. A Maryland protective orders attorney could help a defendant through this process if they believe that this order is brought against them unfairly.

What Circumstances Grant a Protective Order?

A judge may only issue a protective order when there is or used to be a domestic relationship between the petitioner and the respondent, such as:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Being related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • A child in common
  • A sexual relationship within in the previous year

Sufficient grounds for a protective typically include abuse or a threat of violence that the petitioner faces from the respondent. For instance, if there is evidence that the respondent physically assaulted the petitioner by kicking, punching, or attacking them with an object, this would allow for a protective action.

Additionally, someone may ask for an order against an individual who has committed or attempted to commit a sex crime against them. Mental injury to a minor could be grounds for a protective action as well as stalking and unwanted contact via the internet or phone calls.

A judge must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to grant a protective order. However, this evidence does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt like it would in a criminal case. Reasonable grounds generally mean that the judge treats a case with the standard of preponderance of evidence, meaning it is more likely than not that behavior warranting a protective action occurred. A Maryland lawyer who is familiar with protective orders could review someone’s case and determine if the petitioner has reasonable grounds to request an action against them.

Contact a Maryland Protective Orders Lawyer

If someone has taken legal action against you, contact a Maryland protective orders lawyer to discuss what to do next. You have the opportunity to challenge the order against you, but this can be difficult to do without legal counsel. For help on your case, call today.