By Marc Emden, Esq.

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.

What is a Peace Order?

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. The orders, if granted by the judge, can last up to six months. Peace Orders may be sought against a friend, acquaintance, neighbor, or anyone else with whom you are not living or are related.

What is a Protective Order?

Lasting up to one year if granted, a Protective Order is another type of restraining order designated by the courts to protect someone having a specific relationship from having contact with another This type of relationship usually involves a family member, spouse, 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 the public database that lists all cases pending in Maryland courts.
  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 your 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.
  8. A finding of abuse in a Peace or Protective Order case could have an effect on your immigration case.
  9. A victim of domestic violence has the right to ask the judge to order electronic monitoring if you are charged with a crime involving domestic violence.

Advice for Anyone Served with a Peace Order or Protective Order

There are many traps for those unfamiliar with Peace or Protective Orders.

Did you know that you give up on the right to appeal in most cases when you consent to the court’s entry of a Peace Order or Protective Order against you?

Did you know that you have the power to create a private agreement between yourself and the other party which could help you avoid the many risks caused by the public disclosure of this matter?

Did you know that not all acts which may seem to harass qualify as “harassment” under Maryland law?

Did you know that it is unlawful to record the voice of someone else without their consent?

Did you ask the court to rescind or withdraw a Peace or Protective Order before it expires?

For More Information

For more information about these cases, please view our page on Peace and Protective Orders or

Call (301) 762-7007.