How Do I Obtain a Protective Order?

maryland criminal lawyersA Judge can issue a Peace or Protective Order to prohibit one person from certain conduct. Protective Orders are generally for persons who are related, either by blood or marriage, or persons who share a child in common. Related persons or persons living in the same household as a minor child or vulnerable adult may petition for a Protective Order on behalf of the minor child or vulnerable adult.

If the courts are closed, a person eligible for relief can obtain an Interim Protective Order from the District Court Commissioner, which will be in effect until a Judge holds a temporary hearing.

While the courts are open, a person eligible for relief may file a Petition for Protective Order with a circuit or district court in the county in which either party lives or in the county where the abuse occurred. The petition should be filed with the court Clerk, and then a Judge will conduct a temporary hearing. The Judge will issue a Temporary Protective Order (“TPO”) if he or she finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person eligible for relief has been abused. A TPO can require, among other things, that the respondent refrain from further abuse, contacting the petitioner, entering the residence of the petitioner, remaining away from the school or place of employment of family members, and surrender any firearms. A Judge can also award temporary custody of a minor child of the person eligible for relief and respondent.

A final hearing will be conducted typically one week after the temporary hearing. A Judge will issue a Final Protective Order if he or she finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent committed the alleged abuse and the abuse amounts to imminent serious bodily harm. The Final Protective Order can include the same relief as the TPO, as well as order the respondent to provide financial support to the person eligible for relief. The Final Protective Order can last for up to one year, but it can be extended for good cause after a subsequent hearing or upon a second act of abuse.