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By Marc Emden, Esquire

For some of you, your first involvement with the Maryland court system will occur when you are named as a “Respondent” in a protective order or a peace order.  If this happens to you, you may not fully appreciate the many traps you could face.

A peace order is a type of restraining order which limits or prevents one party from inflicting physical harm or injury or posing threats of harm to another.  Once issued by a court, these orders require the offending party to stay away from the person filing the request (“Petitioner”) until the case is finally resolved in court. Peace orders may be sought against a friend, acquaintance, neighbor, or anyone else with whom you are not living with or are related to.

A protective order is another type of restraining order designated by the courts to protect someone with whom you have a specific relationship from facing  physical harm or injury or posing threats of harm allegedly caused you. This type of  relationship usually involves a  family member, spouse, or boyfriend or girlfriend.

What you don’t know when this happens to you:

  1. Maryland Courts are required to post both Peace Order cases and Protective Order cases on the Maryland case search. The case search is public database which lists all cases pending in Maryland courts:http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiry-index.jsp
  2. Any security clearance you have will be affected by the filing of either a peace or protective order against you;
  3. Landlords may be unwilling to rent you property if you are the respondent in a peace or protective order;
  4. Employers may be reluctant to hire you;
  5. Banks may not wish to extend credit to you;
  6. If you are a party in a domestic relation’s case, any custody arrangement with your child could be jeopardized.
  7. All statements you make in the Peace Order or Protective Order case will be used against you if police later charge you with a crime in the same matter.

Advice for Anyone Served with a Peace Order or Protective Order

There are many traps for those unfamiliar with peace or protective orders.  For instance, most people do not realize the legal effect of their consenting to the court’s entry of a peace order or protective order against them.  In addition, there are many situations in which you can create a private agreement between yourself and the petitioner which could help you avoid the many risks caused by the public disclosure of this matter. Finally, if you are falsely accused of violating someone’s rights in either a peace or protective order case, you can employ a number of methods to challenge these matters successfully in court.

For more information about these cases, please find Emdenlaw at www.Emdenlaw.com or call (301)762-7007.

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