What most people commonly refer to as a “restraining order” is called either a protective order or a peace order in Maryland.  A protective order may also be called a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) in Maryland.

What is the difference between a protective order and a peace order in Maryland?

A protective order in Maryland is a court order that requires one person (the respondent) to avoid doing specified acts to another person (the petitioner).  A protection order can include a stay away/no contact provision that requires the respondent to stay away from the petitioner, the petitioner’s home and/or place of business and possibly, other members of the petitioner’s family.

In order to get a protective order, the petitioner and the respondent must have been involved in some type of domestic relationship. This can include, being married, divorced from that person, or married but separated. It can also involve cases where the two parties are related by blood or marriage and in some cases, a step child/step parent relationship.

In some Maryland protective order cases, the requirements can be met if the parties have engaged in a sexual relationship in the past three months or have lived together. There are other ways these requirements can be met, but you should speak with an experienced Maryland protection order attorney if you are seeking an order of protection or have been served with a Temporary Protection Order (TPO).

If you do not qualify for a protective order as you have not been engaged in a relationship as described above, you may qualify for what is known as a peace order. A peace order may not afford you the same level of protection, but it may be necessary depending upon the facts of your actual situation.

What is needed to get a protective order in Maryland?

One of the most common questions Montgomery County family law attorneys are asked is what is needed to get a protective order?  Generally speaking, it is necessary to establish that the other person has committed an abusive act towards you.  This can include, a physical assault, threats, stalking, harassment, kidnapping, and more recently, revenge porn.

While these are all valid reasons, it is important to understand that a person must have actually engaged in abusive behavior to get a protection order.  Many people want a restraining order in Maryland because they have a fear that another person may harm them.  While these fears may often be valid, they may not be enough to get a protective order so you should speak with your attorney about the facts of your actual situation.

How do I get a Protective Order in Maryland?,

The first step is to go to the commissioner’s office for your county and fill out a petition.  While you can do this yourself, it is best to speak with an attorney first so that you make sure you complete the paperwork correctly.  The reason for this is because the standard of proof is so low at the first step that almost everyone will get a temporary order of protection issued. Once that temporary order is served, you will have to go to a hearing within a few days to get an interim order of protection. This is a higher standard of proof, though still not that high, but many people will be denied protection.  This can leave you in a worse situation with respect to the person against whom you sought a protective order, so is best to hire an experienced attorney as early in the process as possible.

If you are granted an interim protection order, the next step will be a hearing for a final protection order. If this is granted, after a hearing, or upon consent, the protection order will typically be in place for one year.  The protection order itself is not criminal, but may result in a crime.  It is also possible the respondent will be charged with a crime for the same conduct that resulted in a protection order.

If you are in need of  protective order or have been served with one, please feel free to contact the Gross Law Firm, LLC for a complete and confidential consultation at 301.388.5434

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