Seeking a Peace or Protective Order?

Or Has Someone Wrongfully Filed a Peace or Protective Order Against You?

We can walk you through the process of securing a peace order or protective order from a District Court judge, District Court commissioner, or Circuit Court judge. But those who have become involved in the peace or protective order process should know the potential traps they may face in Court as well as the effect these orders can have on their immigration status or with their top secret and secret security clearances.

If you’re looking for an attorney with extensive experience in handling peace orders or protective orders in Rockville or Silver Spring, or in the surrounding counties of Prince George’s, Frederick, or Howard Counties, please call us today.

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eBook - The Guide to Protective Orders in MD PDF
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What are Peace Orders and Protective Orders in Maryland?

Is there a neighbor, a friend or acquaintance,  or a complete stranger in Potomac who is harassing you or making threats?  If so, you might need to request a peace order.  Peace orders are a type of restraining order that requires a person who is not related to you or does not live with you to stay away from you.  The party seeking an order is known as the “petitioner” and the party an order is served on is known as the “respondent”.

Protective orders are a similar type of restraining order; but these restraining orders are issued against people who are relatives of, or who live with, the petitioner. Protective orders are also used when the matter concerns married people or those involved in other types of romantic relationships.

First Steps in the Process

Once the temporary order is issued, it is given to local law enforcement by the court to be served on the respondent. The order becomes effective once it is served, and it prohibits the respondent from contacting the petitioner.  A violation of the order could result in criminal charges against the respondent.  A final hearing is scheduled a week later where the parties’ case is then heard by a judge who makes a final decision. If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent committed assault or other acts, made threats, stalked, or harassed the petitioner, then a final order is issued.

Petitioners

If you live in Potomac and need to petition for a peace order or protective order, a petitioner can go to the District Court in Rockville or Silver Spring, file a petition and provide a few minutes of testimony to a judge or a commissioner.  After hearing the facts, the judge or commissioner will decide whether or not to issue an order. Before applying for one these orders, you should review the relevant statutes (laws) (§3-1501, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, or §4-501, Family Law Article) to determine whether you are entitled to receive a protective order or peace order. In addition, make sure that you provide the judge with the specific facts about happened to you. Also, be sure that the acts which you are complaining about occurred within the time periods required for filing under the law: 30 days for peace orders, no stated time limit for most protective orders.

Quick Tips

If the respondent has injured you in a way related to your case, it is important for you to provide the judge with any videos, photographs, medical reports of your injuries or other similar evidence to show the judge the nature and extent of your injuries. In addition, you should preserve any electronic evidence which is relevant to your case. This may include videos, voicemail messages or text messages, and emails.

Respondents

If you are served papers and named as a respondent in a peace or protective order case, it is important that you not violate any orders issued by the court and that you appear for any hearings.  A protective order or peace order case could also result in a respondent facing criminal charges for the behavior alleged in the petition or for an allegation of a violation of the order once one is issued.   If you are interviewed by the police, they can and likely will use whatever information or explanations you give them against you in either the criminal or restraining order case.

There are many things that a respondent should know before attempting to handle a peace or protective order without the assistance of counsel:

  • Maryland Courts are required to post both peace order and protective order cases on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. Case search is a public database that lists all cases pending in Maryland courts;
  • Any security clearance you have will be affected by the filing of either a peace or protective order against you;
  • If you rent or lease a home in Potomac, landlords may be unwilling to rent to you if you are the respondent in a peace or protective order;
  • Employers may be reluctant to hire you, especially if they run background checks or require a security clearance;
  • Banks may choose not to extend credit to you;
  • If you are a party in a domestic relations case, any custody arrangement with your child could be jeopardized;
  • Peace orders could have immigration consequences;
  • 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 or related matter.

Quick Tip

There are many situations in which you can create a private agreement between yourself and the petitioner. These agreements can help you avoid the many risks that come about from the public disclosure of your peace or protective order matter.

If you want to consult with me about your case, schedule a consultation.

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