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Maryland Protective Orders 

During a domestic violence case, it is not uncommon for the court to issue a protective order. Protective orders mandate that all parties involved in a domestic abuse incident spend time apart from each other, typically for the protection of the alleged victim. If you have questions about Maryland protective orders, reach out to a knowledgeable domestic violence defense attorney, and learn more.

Orders as Defined by Maryland Law

In Maryland, there are two categories of restraining orders. There are protective orders and peace orders. Maryland protective orders are what person files against an individual with whom they are related to by blood, marriage, or have cohabited with for 90 days in the previous year and are engaged in a sexual relationship. Protective orders are typically more powerful in scope.

A peace order is an order one files against anybody else like neighbors, friends, coworkers, and strangers. They can provide the similar protections, but not quite as many and they are generally shorter in duration. There are no other civil protection orders besides protective orders and peace orders.

What the Order Does

A peace order typically tells somebody to leave them alone. A Maryland protective order can require a lot more. It can require a person to vacate certain premises, relinquish any firearms they may own, and if it is a spouse it can restrict their ability to see their children. A judge may even order a mental health evaluation if there is a basis for doing so. Protective orders are much stronger and can be much more oppressive.

Who Can File a Protective Order or a Peace Order

The title is called someone eligible for release. The categories included are if the person has been a victim of stalking, harassment, threats, and assaults. Things of that nature can lead to a person to decide that they no longer want to have contact with the person that is subject to the protective order.

The person is not a defendant or a plaintiff; they are a petitioner and a respondent. The petitioner is the person who filed it and petitions the court for an order of protection. The respondent in a protective order would be someone with whom they are related to by blood or marriage or they have been a sexual relationship and cohabitated with for 90 days during the previous year.

A peace order is what one files against anybody else. The person still has to be a person eligible for relief and to show why the courts should grant the person the peace order, but that is filed against anybody else. There is no relationship or history required between the two.

Benefit of a Lawyer at Restraining Order Hearing

Maryland protective orders are a very different type of proceedings. A violation of either is a criminal act and can lead to incarceration, but the order on the petitioner is civil in nature. There is no prosecutor and no right to a public defender. If an individual wants an attorney, they are going to have to retain one for themselves.

Additionally, the burden of proof is much lower. It is much easier to get an order of protection or a peace order. The burden of proof is called preponderance. Whoever the judge believes a little more is the one that gets it. There is no beyond a reasonable doubt and no high threshold to meet, so it is a very low threshold. Many individuals gain leverage or harass another even if there is no reason to because it is a low threshold. If a person does not properly defend themselves, they may be subject to the restrictions and requirements of the order.

If you have been subjected to Maryland protective orders, seek the counsel of an experienced restraining order attorney right away to understand how to move forward.