Protective Orders for Victims of Domestic Violence in Maryland
A protective order is a legal device available to the Maryland state courts in cases of domestic violence. These orders can help stop ongoing abuse and guard against future harm. But unlike peace orders, which are available to most abused victims, protective orders are restricted to situations where the abuser and victim are related.
Who is Eligible for a Protective Order?
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 4-501 defines the abused victims eligible for protective orders. This section limits eligibility to situations where the abuser and victim are related as family or household members. More specifically, the victim must be:
- Currently or formerly married to the abuser;
- Currently or recently in a sexual relationship with the abuser;
- Currently living with the abuser;
- Related to the abuser by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- A parent to the same child as the abuser; or
- A vulnerable adult.
What Types of Abuse are Covered by Protective Orders?
Section 4-501 also lists the types of abuse covered by protective orders. In addition to being related to the victim, the abuser must also commit one of the following:
- Any act that results in serious physical injury;
- Any act that places the victim in fear of imminent and serious physical injury;
- Assault in the first or second degree;
- Rape in the first or second degree;
- Attempted rape in any degree;
- Sexual offense in the third or fourth degree;
- Attempted sexual offense in any degree;
- False imprisonment;
- Stalking; or
- Revenge porn.
Section 4-501 also includes special considerations for abused victims who are children or vulnerable adults.
How Do Protective Orders Defend Abused Victims?
There are three different types of protective orders available under Maryland family law:
- Interim Protective Orders — These orders are available on an emergency basis when the courts are closed;
- Temporary Protective Orders — These orders are available during regular court hours to provide protection while the court considers the merits of a final order; and
- Final Protective Orders — These orders come from a judge after considering the evidence available and can provide long-term protection from future abuse.
Depending on the type of protective order requested and the victim’s particular circumstances, a judge may order any or all of the following remedies:
- Require the abuser to cease any abuse or threats;
- Prevent the abuser from contacting or harassing the victim;
- Stop the abuser from visiting the victim at home, school, or work;
- Force the abuser to move out of a shared residence;
- Award temporary possession of a domestic animal to the victim;
- Order the abuser to surrender any firearms in their possession; or
- Any other reasonable measure that is necessary to protect the victim.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about domestic violence or protective orders in Maryland, it can be distinctly favorable to reach out to a skilled 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.