What Is A Protective Order For Domestic Violence In Maryland?
Protective orders in Maryland are legal devices employed to protect victims of domestic violence from further abuse. These orders empower the state courts to take legal action and, ideally, prevent the abuser from inflicting further harm. When there is a likelihood of past or future abuse, a domestic violence victim may obtain an interim, temporary, or final protective order in Maryland.
What are the Different Types of Protective Orders?
Depending on the circumstances, there are three different types of protective orders under various sections of the Maryland Code of Family Law. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that domestic violence occurred, it is possible to obtain a/an:
- Interim Protective Order — Interim protective orders under Section 4-504.1 are issued outside of the regular business hours of the Maryland courts. These orders are limited in duration, lasting until there is a hearing for a temporary protective order.
- Temporary Protective Order — Temporary protective orders under Section 4-505 are issued after a court hearing when a judge determines that there are reasonably grounds to believe the petitioner has been abused, whether or not the alleged abuser appears. These orders are limited in duration, lasting from seven days to six months.
- Final Protective Order — Final protective orders under Section 4-506 are issued after a court hearing in which the alleged abuser has a chance to be heard and when a judge finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner was abused. These orders usually last for 12 to 24 months. But in certain cases, final protective orders can be permanent, without a defined endpoint.
What Does a Protective Order Accomplish?
Even though Maryland has separate considerations for interim, temporary, and final protective orders, these devices often accomplish the same ends. When granting a protective order, the Maryland courts may order relief that includes but is not limited to:
- Require the abuser to refrain from abusing or threatening to abuse the victim;
- Bar the abuser from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing the victim;
- Mandate that the abuser to vacate a shared home or refrain from entering the victim’s residence;
- Prevent the abuser from visiting the victim’s place of employment, school, or temporary residence;
- Award temporary custody of a minor child or temporary possession of any pet;
- Order temporary maintenance or other forms of support; and
- Provide any other relief deemed necessary to protect the victim.
What is the Penalty for Violating a Protective Order?
The penalties for violating a protective order appear at Maryland Code of Family Section 4-509. Under this section, violation of a protective order is punishable as follows:
- First Violation — Misdemeanor offense with a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and $1,000 in criminal fines; or
- Second or Subsequent Violation — Misdemeanor offense with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
On a related note, there is a special consideration for police officers who have probable cause to believe someone is in violation of protective order. In these situations, the police officer shall arrest the potential offender and take them into custody, with or without a warrant.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about domestic violence or protective orders in Maryland, it can be greatly valuable to contact 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.