This Maryland Lawyer has handled numerous Peace and Protective Orders. We have represented both parties applying for Protective/Peace Orders, and those who have been filed against. These Protective/Peace Order hearings are often very emotional and highly contested, thus it is advantageous to retain a Maryland Lawyer. Below is an outline of the Protective/Peace Order process, but if you need help, please do not hesitate to contact our office, as this process is much less difficult with a Maryland lawyer!
What is a Protective or Peace Order?
These orders are a unique animal that function differently than other types of cases. These are civil orders issued by a Judge that order one person to refrain from committing certain acts against others. The relationship between the Respondent (person alleged to have committed the prohibited act) and the Petitioner (person seeking protection) determines the Petition to be filed. Protective Orders generally apply to people in domestic relationships. Peace Orders apply to other persons. You cannot qualify for both.
How do I apply for a Protective/Peace Order?
Step 1: Complete the correct petition.
The petitions (forms) for protective orders can be obtained from any circuit or District Court clerk or District Court commissioner. Petitions for peace orders must be obtained from a District Court clerk or commissioner. All forms are available at: www.mdcourts.gov/courtforms
Step 2: File the petition.
During normal business hours, file the petition with a circuit or District Court clerk (District Court for peace orders). Once the petition is filed, you will be directed into a courtroom as soon as a judge is available to hear your case.
What happens after I apply for a Protective/Peace Order?
Step 1: Appear for a temporary hearing
When you appear before a judge, you will be required to answer questions under oath. If the judge finds reasonable grounds to believe that the Respondent committed the acts alleged in the petition, (and in the case of a peace order, is likely to do so again) a temporary order is granted. The order goes into effect once a law enforcement officer serves the Respondent and generally lasts for seven days unless extended by a judge.
Step 2: Appear for a final hearing
A final hearing is usually scheduled within seven days after the order is served. At the hearing, both parties may present evidence. However, if the Respondent does not attend, the judge may still grant a final order if at the trial the judge finds clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent committed the alleged act against the Petitioner, as defined under the law, (and in the case of a peace order, is likely to do so again). Instead of a trial, the Respondent may consent to the entry of a final order.
What Happens if the Protective/Peace Order is GRANTED?
A Final Protective Order: (a) may be in effect for as long as one (1) year, and the court for good cause may extend the term of the Final Protective Order for an additional six (6) months after a further hearing; or (b) may be extended for a period not to exceed two (2) years, if a judge finds the Respondent has committed a subsequent act of abuse against the Petitioner or a protected person; or (c) may last for as long as two (2) years, if there is a finding that this is a subsequent act of abuse committed within one (1) year after the date that a prior Final Protective Order issued against the same Respondent on behalf of the same person eligible for relief expires, and the prior Final Protective Order was issued for a period of at least six (6) months. A peace order may last up to six (6) months and can be extended for an additional six (6) months for good cause, after notice to parties and hearing.
What Should I do?
In these hearings, you are not required to have an attorney, but you SHOULD. The Maryland Rules of Evidence apply, and the Judge that may decide your case requires that these rules be followed. A Maryland Lawyer from ENLawyers, will help you prepare for the hearing, gather the necessary evidence, and guide you through the process to make it as painless as possible.