Table of Contents

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order stops someone from stalking you, hurting you, harassing you, or otherwise contacting you. In Maryland, there are two types restraining orders: Protective Order and Peace Order.

What is the difference between a Protective Order and a Peace Order?

Peace Orders are a type of restraining order that requires a person who is not related to or living with to stay away from the person filing with the court. These people could be friends, acquaintances, neighbors or complete strangers. 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.

What is an Emergency Protective Order?

It’s a term some people use to refer to a Protective Order. There are no emergency protective orders in Maryland, and all protective orders are obtained the same way. You may also hear terms such as “motion for a Protective Order,” or “Court Protective Order” – those are all the same thing.

What are the reasons for which a court will issue a Protective Order?

A court will issue a Protective Order if any of the following has occurred: an act that causes serious bodily harm, an act that places you in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, assault, rape or sexual offense, false imprisonment, and stalking.

Where do I file a protective order?

You should file for your protective order in the District Court in the county where the act occurred which caused you to seek the protective order.

How do I get a Protective Order?

To get a Protective Order a petitioner can go to a District Court or Circuit Court and provide a few minutes of testimony to a judge or a commissioner. This judge or commissioner will decide whether or not an order should be issued. Make sure that you provide the judge with the specific facts about happened to you. For most Protective Orders, there is no time limit required by law within which you must file a Protective Order. However, filing for a Protective Order sooner rather than later after the offensive acts occurred tells the court that you are seriously worried.

Can I look at a sample Protective Order?

Each protective order is different and depends on the facts of your situation. You can get the form for a Protective Order here.

What information or documents do I need to bring with me when I apply for a Protective Order?

The only documentation that is required to apply for a Protective Order is your identification. Other documentation may be helpful but is not required. Consider bringing any relevant police reports, medical reports, photographs, copies of harassing texts or emails, or other evidence you think may be helpful to your case.

What is an Interim Protective Order?

This aa order which is issued during non court/business hours by a commissioner. An interim order is issued when the person applying for the Peace Order files it when the court house is closed. This usually occurs on weekends, holidays, or after 4:30 pm on weekdays.

What is a Temporary Protective Order?

When you first file for a Protective Order, if your petition is granted, you will get a Temporary Protective Order. This Order becomes effective once it is served on the respondent (opposing party) and is valid until the final hearing is held (usually within 7 days).

What is a Final Protective Order?

A final hearing will be scheduled 7 days from the issuance of the Temporary Protective Order. Both parties have a right to be present at the final hearing, and they also may have attorneys with them. 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.

How long will the Protective Order be effective?

Once the temporary order is issued, the court gives it to local law enforcement to be served on the respondent. The order becomes effective once it is served, and it prohibits the respondent from contacting the petitioner. A final hearing is scheduled a week later where the parties’ case is then heard by a judge who makes a final decision. A final Protective Order generally lasts up to one year, although it can last longer under some.

You can make  appointments by contacting us online or by calling our main office at (301)762-7007. Our office is located in Rockville, Maryland near the Rockville District and Circuit Courts and is convenient to Metro. Appointments can usually be scheduled within the week.

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.

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