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Domestic Violence: Can I Get a...

Domestic Violence: Can I Get a Protective Order?

Under Maryland law, domestic violence encompasses many different types of threatening behavior, including:

  • Stalking
  • Rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Any act that causes bodily harm
  • Any act which gives another person reason to fear bodily harm
  • Assault
  • Other sexual offenses
  • False imprisonment.

Eligibility for a domestic violence protective order is dependent on the type of relationship you have with the person you are seeking to obtain the order against.  Only family or household members can be victims of domestic violence under Maryland law.  To obtain a protective order, the accused must be: a current spouse, a former spouse, someone you have lived with intimately for at least ninety days over the last twelve months, or someone related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage. Those in a parent/child relationship or even a stepparent/stepchild relationship who have lived in the same home for a minimum of ninety days in the past twelve months may also be eligible to obtain a protective order. Parents who have children together are also eligible to obtain a protective order against one another. Those who do not have one of the above relationships must request a peace order rather than a protective order.

If an incident of domestic violence is reported to the police within 48 hours, a police officer may make an arrest without a warrant; however, there must be some type of evidence that the alleged victim suffered an injury. The police officer must also reasonably believe the accused committed a domestic violence crime against the alleged victim, and that if not arrested, the accused could evade arrest, tamper with, or dispose of evidence, cause further injury, or damage property.

Filing a protective order

If you are able to go to the court clerk’s office during normal hours, you may be issued an interim protective order on the same day. An interim order can be issued without a full court hearing and without the accused being present. If the accused is not present, he or she will be served with the interim protective order after it is issued.  If the court clerk’s office is closed, you can file for an interim protective order at your nearest district court commissioner. An interim order lasts until a temporary hearing is held, usually within a couple of days.

A temporary order will be in effect for seven days, then a court hearing will be held to determine whether to extend the temporary order. In order for a final protective order to be issued, both sides must have the opportunity to present their case at a full court hearing.

Final protective orders often last one year; however, it can last as long as two years, or can be permanent under certain circumstances. Permanent protective orders can be granted if there was a protective order against the accused in the past and he or she served a minimum of five years in prison for abuse committed against you.

In what ways does a protective order help you?

A protective order can help you in different ways, depending on whether the order is interim, temporary or final. All protective orders will prohibit the accused from threatening, contacting, harassing, abusing, or entering your home. All protective orders will prohibit the accused from coming to your place of employment, your school, your temporary residence or the homes of other family members. If you shared a home with the accused, all types of protective orders will order him or her to move out of the house, giving you temporary use and possession (unless you are not married and your name does not appear on the lease or deed). All types of protective orders may also award temporary possession of any pets to you.

Interim protective orders contain all the above and can also award you temporary custody of children you share if child abuse is alleged or if the child lived with you and the accused at the time of the abusive incident.

A temporary order can additionally order the accused to stay away from the daycare provider and/or school your children attend and can award temporary child custody to you. A temporary protective order can also require the accused to relinquish possession of any firearms to law enforcement.

A final order of protection will do everything a temporary protective order does while also setting up temporary visitation for the other parent (if safety for the children is not an issue), ordering the abuser to pay child support and/or spousal support, awarding temporary use of a jointly owned vehicle to you, ordering counseling or a domestic violence program, and ordering the abuser to pay all legal fees associated with the protective order. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, it can be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the process.

What is a peace order?

A peace order is a similar form of legal protection; however, it is offered for individuals in a dating relationship, as well as neighbors or strangers. A peace order essentially allows an individual who wishes to be left alone to ask the court to require another person to refrain from contact. The peace order is for the person who alleges abuse, trespass, malicious destruction of property, harassment and stalking. Unlike a protective order, the court is not concerned with the nature of the relationship between the two parties. A peace order can mandate that the alleged abuser stop abusing the alleged victim, stay away from the alleged victim, and refrain from hassling the alleged victim. The judge can order counseling, mediation and can order the alleged abuser to pay filing fees and court costs.

About Wendy Satin Law

Attorney Wendy Satin practices Family Law and Criminal Defense Law. She brings a wealth of trial experience coupled with calm, straightforward approaches and keen legal acumen to Wendy Satin Law and is regarded as one of the best lawyers in the State of Maryland.

Ms. Satin brings her vast trial experience and empirical knowledge to the table, whether the job is big, or small. All cases are “big” to the person at risk, or experiencing the breakdown of their family, and they deserve to have someone with a thorough and realistic grasp of the law, and judicial system, helping them in their time of need.

If you have been the victim of domestic violence in Maryland, contact Wendy. Our domestic violence attorneys have successfully represented individuals in Washington D.C., and throughout Maryland who have sought protection from an abusive spouse or domestic partner. You are not alone – we can help. Contact Wendy Satin Law today at 301-762-1000 to discuss your case and the best way to proceed, or visit our website:  www.wendysatinlaw.com.

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