Typical scenario: The Petitioner has obtained a protective or peace order against you from a  Court in Maryland. This order contains a no-contact provision and other provisions defining the nature of contact between you and the Petitioner.  The Petitioner then alleges that you have violated the no-contact provision.  What happens next?

How Do They Report the Alleged Violations to the Judge

The Petitioner may then institute criminal charges against you by either contacting the police, who may then themselves file charges against you, or  the Petitioner may instead appear before a District Court Commissioner who would then lodge these charges.  Violation of an order could result in jail time as well as an extension of the existing order.

Proof of Whether you Violated the Peace or Protective Order

Next, your case comes to court. In order for a judge to convict you of a violation of an order, he or she would require proof that you were served with the underlying order in the first place and that you voluntarily violated the terms of the order.  Each violation of a peace or protective order carries a maximum of 60 days in jail.

Defenses Available for Someone Charged with a  Violation

These prosecutions are not always successful.  Moreover,  defenses exist to challenge a prosecution for an alleged violation.  For example, the prosecution may not use the reasons the Petitioner obtained the order against you in the first place to prove that you violated the order.  Instead, in its prosecution of you, the State must prove that the court adequately notified you of the order and that you committed an act that breached the terms of the court order.

Along the way, the court may also consider, for example, whether the charges had been filed for revenge and not because you violated the order. In addition, the court may consider whether the Petitioner is a party to a divorce or other family case and is merely seeking to use the order as a weapon against you. These are only a few examples.

Consequences of Facing Charges for Violations of Peace and Protective Order

In addition to potential jail time, these charges could also affect your immigration or security clearance status and jeopardize your personal or professional reputation. Consult with an attorney to advise you of the best ways to help you.