Temporary Protective Orders in Maryland
When an abuser commits domestic violence or other forms of abuse in Maryland, the courts can intervene on behalf of the victim. In order to protect the victim and halt further abuse, the Maryland courts can even issue a temporary protective order before a final hearing occurs.
Purpose of a Temporary Protective Order
Maryland Family Code Section 4–505 enables the state courts to issue temporary protective orders. These orders are temporary measures designed to stop abuse until a final protective order hearing can take place. A Maryland court must find reasonable evidence of abuse before issuing a temporary protective order. Without such evidence, the courts are not allowed to issue temporary protective orders.
Duration of a Temporary Protective Order
In most cases, a temporary protective order can last for a maximum of seven days. But a Maryland court can extend a temporary protective order for up to six months to effectuate service where necessary to provide protection.
Additionally, there is an exception for court closure. If the court is closed on the date of expiration of a temporary protective order, there is an automatic extension. The order will continue until the second day that the court is open. At that point, the court will conduct a final protective order hearing.
Features of a Temporary Protective Order
In granting a petition for a temporary protective order, a Maryland court may:
- Order the abuser to refrain from abusing or threatening to abuse the victim;
- Order the abuser to stop contacting, attempting to contact or harassing the victim;
- Award temporary possession of a residence to the victim;
- Order the abuser to stay away from the victim’s workplace, school or residence;
- Order the abuser to refrain from entering the victim’s residence;
- Award temporary custody of a minor child to the victim;
- Order the abuser to stay away from the victim’s child care provider;
- Award temporary possession of a pet to the victim; and
- Order the abuser to surrender firearms to law enforcement.
Specific Limitations on the Surrender of Firearms
Concerning the last item in the previous list — the surrender of firearms to law enforcement — there are several important limitations in place. On a larger level, the Maryland courts may only require an abuser to surrender firearms in cases of gun-related abuse. On a specific level, the abuser must have:
- Harmed the victim with a firearm;
- Threatened to harm the victim with a firearm;
- Inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim; or
- Threatened to inflict serious bodily injury on the victim.
In any of the situations above, a Maryland court may order the abuser to surrender any firearms to law enforcement for the duration of a temporary protective order.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about temporary protective orders in Maryland, it can be extremely helpful to consult with a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered in Bel Air, Maryland, have significant experience assisting clients in matters involving protective orders, and we can help you today.