Civil Protection Orders in Anne Arundel County
If you are subject to a restraining order or civil protection order in Anne Arundel County, you should seek representation by an experienced domestic violence attorney. Even accidental violations can lead to serious penalties, so it is critical that you understand the terms of your protection order and how to comply. An experienced attorney could help you protect your interests and work towards a positive resolution of any underlying charges.
What is a Civil Protection Order?
A civil protection order is entered by a judge to protect one individual from another. To be eligible for a civil protection order, the parties must be relatives by blood or marriage or have been in a sexual relationship within the past year. Within the year prior to filing the petition for the protective order, there must have been an incident that made them eligible for relief.
Situations that may lead to a protective order can be stalking, assault, threats, certain types of violence, and nearly any actions considered abusive. If a person has been abused by another, they are eligible for relief and can go to a hearing to request the civil protection order. Even though these orders are issued by the civil courts, violations are criminal acts that can lead to jail time.
How Do Violations Occur?
The ways in which a protective order may be violated depends on how it was entered. Judges in Anne Arundel County frequently enter protective orders that bar all contact, either direct or indirect. This means that the respondent cannot contact the petitioner via calling, texting, emailing, messaging, or any other way. They also cannot have a third party send a message since this would be considered indirect contact.
In some cases, a judge could place conditions on the order for limited reasons. As an example, for two people who have a child in common, the judge may order no contact except for matters pertaining to the children by text only. If there is a text unrelated to the children or the contact is by a phone call, that would be a violation.
Notably, inadvertent contact does not count as a violation. For example, if the respondent to a protective order walks into the same store as the petitioner, it is not a violation as long as they turn around and leave.
The corresponding consequences for violating civil protection orders are 90 days incarceration and a fine for the first offense.
How a Civil Protection Order Could Impact a Person’s Employment
A civil protection order can affect a person’s employment in that most individuals are at-will employees and can be terminated for any number of things. Since the allegation underlying the protective order is an allegation of abuse, an employer may not wish to retain the respondent. Alternatively, individuals who get their background checked when seeking a job could be rejected.
Civil Protection Order Versus Temporary Protection Orders
The difference between a civil protective order and a temporary protective order goes to the nature of the proceeding. When a person wants to file a protective order in Anne Arundel County, they could go to a commissioner’s office and file a petition. One files the form, takes the oath, the commissioner accepts it, and the person is given an interim protective order which is good for up to 48 hours or until the individual can see a judge.
While the order is in place at that point, until the other party is served, they cannot be held to the no-contact or other provisions. When one goes before a judge, they will hear from the petitioner to determine whether there is a basis to enter the temporary order. Typically, the respondent is not present. The petitioner testifies as to why they believe they should get it, and the judge almost always will just grant it because it is uncontested.
This temporary order has the same effect as a final order or even an interim order once it is served, and the violation of it is a crime. A temporary order generally is only good for up to a week until the final hearing. The final hearing is one that the respondent should attend and be heard from. Once issued, a final protective order could be in place for up to a year.
Call an Attorney Before Your Civil Protection Order Hearing
Individuals who file protective orders often use them as a weapon. All they have to do is call the police and say that they were contacted, and a warrant is issued for the person’s arrest.
It gives the petitioner power, authority, and leverage against the respondent. Having an experienced attorney on the respondent’s side allows them to challenge the order or negotiate the terms of an agreement. Given the potential consequences for violating a protection order in Anne Arundel County, individuals should not risk appearing in court alone. Contact an attorney today to discuss your situation.