Maryland Protective Order Lawyer

protective order lawyer Randolph Rice in Maryland

Maryland Protective Order Lawyer

Protective orders are civil orders issued buy a judge in Maryland. The judge, if he finds evidence of abuse May order that the respondent refrain from committing certain acts against the petitioner.

Who is a Petitioner?family law book Maryland

A petitioner in a Maryland protective order is the individual who files the initial petition for protective order and is asking for relief from the court. A petitioner should hire a lawyer to represent their interests before the Court when seeking a final protective order.

Who is a Respondent?

In Maryland, a respondent for a protective order is the individual that has alleged to have committed a prohibited Act and the individual that the petitioner is asking for protection from.

Do I Qualify for a Maryland Protective Order?

If you’re filing a petition for protective order for yourself and any one of these conditions apply, then you are eligible for a protective order in:

  • You are the current or former spouse of the respondent
  • You have had a sexual relationship with a respondent and have resided with the respondent in a home for a period of at least 90 days within the last year
  • You are related to the responded by blood, marriage or adoption
  • You are the parent, step parent, child, or stepchild of the respondent and you have resided with the respondent for 90 days during the past year
  • You have a child in common with the respondent
  • You have a sexual relationship with the respondent within one year before you file for the protective order.

If you fall into any of these above categories, you are eligible to file for a protective order. If you did not qualify as one of these conditions above then you would file for a peace order. Click here to read more about peace orders in Maryland.

Can I file a protective order for a minor child?Maryland protective order lawyer

A minor child is a person under the age of 18 years. You may file a protective order for a minor child if any one of these conditions applies:

  • The minor child is the current or former spouse of the respondent inter the minor child has had a sexual relationship with the respondent and it was resided with the respondent in the home for a period of at least nine days of the last year
  • The minor child is related to the respondent by blood, marriage or adoption
  • The minor child is the step parent, child or step child of the respondent or the person eligible for relief and has resided with the respondent for 90 days during the past year
  • The minor child has a child in common with the respondent
  • The minor child has had a sexual relationship with the respondent within one year before the filing of the petition.

What do I have to prove to receive a protective order in Maryland?

A petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that “abuse” has occurred by the responded. Abuse is defined under Maryland Family Law 4-501 as:

  • An act that causes serious bodily harm
  • An act that places is a person eligible for relief in fear of imminent serious bodily harm
  • Assault in any degree
  • Rape or sexual offense under Criminal Law 3-303 through 3 – 308 or attempted rape or sexual offense in any degree
  • False imprisonment, or
  • Stalking as defined under Maryland Criminal Law 3-802.

How do I file a protective order in Maryland?

To file a protective order in Maryland, an individual is directed to visit any one of the District Court location. If the district court is closed, then the petitioner must see a commissioner. If a commissioner finds that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that the respondent has abused the petitioner, the commissioner may issue an interim protective order.

If the commissioner grants the petitioner an interim protective order, the petitioner is required to return to the courthouse on the next business day to present the facts for the protective order to a District Court Judge.

Temporary Protective Order Hearing in MarylandMaryland protective order blue

If an individual is seeking a protective order during business hours for a District Court, after completing the paperwork the petitioner will have to appear before a District Court judge. The petitioner will present the facts for the petition before the district court judge and if the judge finds there are reasonable grounds to believe that the petitioner has been abused, the judge made an enter a temporary protective order.

What can the Judge order in a temporary protective order?

There are various conditions that a judge may order after the temporary protective order hearing. Those include:

  • Order the respondent to refrain from further abuse or threats of abuse of a person eligible for relief;
  • Order the respondent to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing any person eligible for relief;
  • Order the respondent to refrain from entering the residence of a person eligible for relief;
  • Where the person eligible for relief and the respondent are residing together at the time of the alleged abuse, order the respondent to vacate the home immediately and award temporary use and possession of the home to the person eligible for relief or in the case of alleged abuse of a child or alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult, award temporary use and possession of the home to an adult living in the home, provided that the court may not grant an order to vacate and award temporary use and possession of the home to a nonspouse person eligible for relief unless the name of the person eligible for relief appears on the lease or deed to the home or the person eligible for relief has resided in the home with the respondent for a period of at least 90 days within 1 year before the filing of the petition;
  • Order the respondent to remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of a person eligible for relief or home of other family members;
  • Order the respondent to remain away from a child care provider of a person eligible for relief while a child of the person is in the care of the child care provider;
  • Award temporary custody of a minor child of the person eligible for relief and the respondent;
  • Order the respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearm in the respondent’s possession, and to refrain from possession of any firearm, for the duration of the temporary protective order if the abuse consisted of:
    1.   the use of a firearm by the respondent against a person eligible for relief;
    2.   a threat by the respondent to use a firearm against a person eligible for relief;
    3.   serious bodily harm to a person eligible for relief caused by the respondent; or
    4.   a threat by the respondent to cause serious bodily harm to a person eligible for relief; and
  • Award temporary possession of any pet of the person eligible for relief or the respondent.

What happens after the temporary protective order hearing?

If the judge finds reasonable grounds to issue a temporary protective order, the clerk’s office will schedule a final protective order hearing within 7 days. The clerk will then forward the temporary protective order to the police department in the jurisdiction where they respondent lives. The police will attempt to serve the respondent with the temporary protective order.

If the police are unable to serve the respondent before the final protective order hearing within 7 days, the judge will extend the next hearing for an additional seven days to allow service on the respondent. The police department or law enforcement agency will continue to attempt to serve the responded with a temporary protective order.

What happens when the respondent is served with the temporary protective order?

Once the responded is served with the temporary protective order, the conditions of that order are binding upon the respondent. That means, that whatever the judge ordered and the temporary protective order, the respondent must comply with that order. The temporary protective order also directs the respondent to appear for the final protective order hearing.

Final protective order hearingMD protective order

After the respondent has been served with the temporary protective order, he or she is ordered to appear at a final protective order hearing. At that final protective order hearing, the petitioner and respondent are allowed to present they’re evidence. The petitioner must present sufficient evidence for a judge to find by a preponderance of the evidence that the alleged abuse occurred, or the respondent May consent to the entry of a protective order.

What Can a Judge Order in a Final Protective Order?

According to Maryland Family Law 4-506, a Judge can order the following conditions in a final protective order:

  • Order the respondent to refrain from abusing or threatening to abuse any person eligible for relief;
  • Order the respondent to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing any person eligible for relief;
  • Order the respondent to refrain from entering the residence of any person eligible for relief;
  • Where the person eligible for relief and the respondent are residing together at the time of the abuse, order the respondent to vacate the home immediately and award temporary use and possession of the home to the person eligible for relief or, in the case of alleged abuse of a child or alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult, award temporary use and possession of the home to an adult living in the home, provided that the court may not grant an order to vacate and award temporary use and possession of the home to a nonspouse person eligible for relief unless the name of the person eligible for relief appears on the lease or deed to the home or the person eligible for relief has shared the home with the respondent for a period of at least 90 days within 1 year before the filing of the petition;
  • Order the respondent to remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of a person eligible for relief or home of other family members;
  • Order the respondent to remain away from a child care provider of a person eligible for relief while a child of the person is in the care of the child care provider;
  • Award temporary custody of a minor child of the respondent and a person eligible for relief;
  • Establish temporary visitation with a minor child of the respondent and a person eligible for relief on a basis which gives primary consideration to the welfare of the minor child and the safety of any other person eligible for relief. If the court finds that the safety of a person eligible for relief will be jeopardized by unsupervised or unrestricted visitation, the court shall condition or restrict visitation as to time, place, duration, or supervision, or deny visitation entirely, as needed to guard the safety of any person eligible for relief;
  • Award emergency family maintenance as necessary to support any person eligible for relief to whom the respondent has a duty of support under this article, including an immediate and continuing withholding order on all earnings of the respondent in the amount of the ordered emergency family maintenance in accordance with the procedures specified in Title 10, Subtitle 1, Part III of this article;
  • Award temporary use and possession of a vehicle jointly owned by the respondent and a person eligible for relief to the person eligible for relief if necessary for the employment of the person eligible for relief or for the care of a minor child of the respondent or a person eligible for relief;
  • Except when a protective order is issued for a person eligible for relief described in § 4–501(m)(7) of this subtitle, direct the respondent or any or all of the persons eligible for relief to participate in professionally supervised counseling or a domestic violence program;
  • Order the respondent to pay filing fees and costs of a proceeding under this subtitle;
  • Award temporary possession of any pet of the person eligible for relief or the respondent; or
  • Order any other relief that the judge determines is necessary to protect a person eligible for relief from abuse.

Consenting to a protective order

When the respondent appears for the final protective order hearing, he or she may elect to consent to the order. This means that the respondent is not admitting fault and the judge is not finding facts but merely the respondent is willing to enter into a final protective order.

How long does a protective order last?calendar

In Maryland, a final protective order may be granted by the judge for as long as one (1) year. The judge may also grant an extension of the final protective order for the additional six months after a further hearing during the period of the protective order. A judge may also order a final protective order granted for as long as two (2) years if the same person eligible for relief previously obtained a protective order against the same responded and the prior ordered lasted for at least 6 months and within the one year of the expiration of the order the responded committed an act of abuse against the petitioner or the respondent consented to the order

What happens if a protective order is violated?

If after being served with an interim or temporary protective order and the respondent violates any of the conditions of the order, it may result in criminal prosecution and prison as well as a fine. In addition, a temporary protective order and final protective order issued, and if violated, may result in a finding of contempt by the ordering judge.

Pursuant to Family Law 4-509, if a person fails to comply with an interim protective order, temporary protective order, or final protective order then they can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to 90 days in jail and or a $1,000 fine for a first offense. If an individual violates a protective order for a second or subsequent time, that individual can face up to a year in jail and or a $2,500 fine. For the purposes of enhanced penalties, the court and State may use prior convictions for violating a peace order as well as a protective order.

Can I expunge a protective order?

No, expungement of a protective order is not allowed by law since the expungement rules only apply to criminal cases and protective orders are classified as a civil matter. However, you may be eligible to Shield a final protective order or temporary protective order from public view. Shielding means removing the record from public view as well as the Maryland judiciary website.

Shielding a Maryland Protective OrderMaryland final protective order

If a protective order was denied or dismissed at any stage of the process including interim, temporary or final protective order stage the petitioner or respondent may file a written request to Shield all court records relating to the protective order. If the respondent consented to the final protective order then a request may be made to Shield those records from public view. A request for shielding may not be filed within three (3) years after the denial or dismissal as well as a consent entry of the protective order unless the person requesting the shielding files a general waiver and release with the court.

Maryland protective order lawyer

If you are the petitioner or responded for a protective order in Maryland, it is advisable that you hire an experienced Maryland protective order lawyer today. The collateral consequences of a protective order in Maryland can affect your employment, your ability to obtain a license or your right to possess or own a firearm. Protective order lawyer contact him today at 410-2882 discuss your protective order needs in Maryland.

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