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?

Peace orders are a type of restraining order that may be filed against another person such as a friend, an acquaintances, a neighbor in the Potomac area or even a complete stranger.   The petition is filed against someone the petitioner does not live with and is not related to, and if an order is issued, it would require the person who is served with the order to stay away from the person who flied with the court.  The party seeking an order is known as the “petitioner” and the party receiving an order is known as the “respondent”.

Protective orders are a similar type of restraining order; but these restraining orders are issued to 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

Protection under a protective order or peace order begins when a temporary order is issued.  Once the temporary order is issued, the court gives a copy to local law enforcement to serve the order on the respondent.  The order becomes effective once it is served, and it prohibits the respondent from contacting the petitioner and orders the respondent to stay away from the petitioner.  A final hearing is usually scheduled a week later where both parties present their case in front of a judge.  The judge makes a final decision based on the evidence presented by the parties.  If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent committed an assault or other improper acts, made threats, stalked, or harassed the petitioner, then a final order is issued.

Petitioners

To file a petition for a peace order or protective order in Montgomery County, a petitioner can go to the District Court in Silver Spring, or in Rockville, where the person fills out and files a petition and provides a few minutes of testimony to a judge or a commissioner.  The judge or commissioner will decide whether or not an order should be issued. Before applying for a protective order or peace order, 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 one of these types of orders. 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 someone else’s actions have injured you, the judge needs to see evidence such as photographs, videos, medical reports and any other documentation of your injuries to help the judge understand the nature and extent of the injuries.  In addition, you should preserve any electronic evidence which is relevant to your case. This may include voicemail messages and text messages, as well as emails.

Respondents

If you have been named as a respondent in a peace or protective order case, you should be aware of your rights and your responsibilities to the court.  Although a peace or protective order is a civil matter, you could also be facing criminal charges for the behavior alleged in the peace order case or for alleged violations of the order. In addition, be cautious in any conversations with the police because they may well use whatever information or explanations you give them against you in the civil case and, if one develops, the criminal case.

There are many things that a respondent should know before attempting to handle a peace or protective order on his or her own:

  • Maryland Courts are required to post both peace order and protective order cases on the Maryland 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;
  • Landlords may be unwilling to rent to you if you are the respondent in a peace or protective order;
  • Employers in Silver Spring and the DC Metro area may be reluctant to hire you;
  • 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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