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Does Maryland Enforce Out-Of-State Protective Orders For Domestic Violence?


When domestic violence occurs in Maryland or elsewhere in the United States, the courts may issue a protective order to protect the victim. These protective orders allow state courts to prohibit certain types of conduct, such as abusing or threatening a victim, going to the victim’s home or workplace, having contact with the victim, etc., and attach legal consequences for noncompliance.

Generally speaking, protective orders are a matter of state law, issued and enforced within the boundaries of a single state. But to the extent required by federal law, each state also recognizes out-of-state protective orders as well. Though the enforcement mechanisms do vary on a state-by-state basis.

What is the Definition of a Protective Order?

A broad definition of a protective order appears under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-508.1. As referred to as an order of protection, the term protective order in Maryland typically refers to a temporary or final order that was:

  • Issued for the purpose of preventing violence against, abuse or harassment of, contact with, or proximity to another person;
  • Approved by a criminal court or a civil court, if the victim requests protection through a complaint, petition, or motion; or
  • Obtained by filing an independent action or a temporary order in a separate proceeding.

Under Section 4-508.1, the term protective order does not include orders that relate to child support or child custody. In other words, orders of protection exist separately from typical family law matters.

Does Maryland Enforce an Out-of-State Protective Order?

Section 4-508.1 establishes the legal consideration for enforcing out-of-state protective orders in Maryland. Under this section, a protective order issued by another U.S. state or Native American tribe will be recognized in Maryland if:

  • The order grants relief permitted under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-505, which governs temporary protective orders; or
  • The order grants relief permitted under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-506, which governs final protective orders.

What if an Out-of-State Protective Order is Violated in Maryland? 

Section 4-508.1 details the procedure for a violation of an out-of-state protective order that occurs in Maryland. Upon probable cause of a violation of an out-of-state protective order, Maryland law enforcement may arrest the suspect with or without a warrant if:

  • The protected person filed a copy of the protective order with the applicable district or circuit court in Maryland; or
  • The protected person presents to law enforcement a protective order that appears to be valid.

Section 4-508.1 can also shield law enforcement officers from civil liability for enforcing out-of-state protective orders. In these situations, law enforcement officers must act reasonably and in good faith to preserve immunity from civil liability.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you need legal assistance with domestic violence or protective orders in Maryland, it is important to contact an experienced Bel Air domestic violence attorney. Reach out to the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for help today.

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