Maryland Rolls Out New Penalties For Violating Protective Orders
Domestic violence under Maryland law is an offense that involves abuse or threats of abuse between family or household members. The relationship between the perpetrator and victim makes this a unique criminal offense, one that also triggers the availability of protective orders.
Protective orders are an important tool to help protect victims and halt further abuse, including penalties for violating such an order. Moreover, the Maryland General Assembly recently updated the penalties for violating a protective order with the changes that took effect on October 1, 2022.
Types of Maryland Protective Orders
Maryland protective orders enable state judges to order various protections in domestic violence cases, such as requiring the perpetrator to cease abuse or contact, awarding custody of children or pets, or providing possession and use of a shared residence.
Maryland family law provides for three types of protective orders:
- Interim Protective Orders — Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-504.1, an interim protective order is available when the courts are closed and usually lasts until a hearing occurs for a temporary protective order;
- Temporary Protective Orders — Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-504.1, a temporary protective order is available after a court hearing and typically lasts for a maximum of seven days; and
- Final Protective Orders — Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-504.1, a temporary protective order is available after a court hearing and generally lasts for one to two years.
Maryland Penalties for Violating Protective Orders
The penalties for violating protective orders appear at Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-509. New changes to this section took effect on October 1, 2022. Moving forward, any person who violates an interim, temporary, or final protective order a:
- First Time — Is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by criminal fines up to $1,000 and a maximum of 90 days in jail; or
- Second or Subsequent Time — Is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by criminal fines up to $2,500 and a maximum of 12 months in jail.
It is vital to note that the penalties above exist separate from, consecutive to, or concurrent with any other sentence imposed at law. For example, if a person violates a protective order and commits another crime at the same time, they can face separate penalties for each offense.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about domestic violence or protective orders in Maryland, it can be immensely helpful to reach out to a diligent Bel Air domestic violence attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including domestic violence and protective orders. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.