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Interim Protective Orders in Maryland Explained

What is a protective order?

A protective order will legally prevent a person from contacting another. Protective orders are usually sought against someone whom an individual has had a romantic relationship with. It could be a husband, wife or partner. They may also be taken out against relatives or others who are currently living in the home. Protective orders do not apply to friends, acquaintances, coworkers, strangers or other people that a person comes into contact with. A peace order may be more applicable in those situations.

Who can ask for a protective order?

Married people and individuals can file for a protective order as needed. A vulnerable adult, child, relative, stepchild or stepparent may also ask for relief if they have lived with the person that the protective order is being sought against (also known as the respondent) for at least 90 days within a particular year. The person who is asking for a protective order (also referred to as the petitioner) must be a resident of the state of Maryland at the time the request is filed.

Why should I consider filing for a protective order?

If someone that you’re in a relationship with or live with has committed one or more of the following acts, you may want to think about getting a protective order:

Harassment is not covered under a protective order. However, it may be one of the reasons why a peace order is sought against a non-relative or romantic partner.

What is an interim protective order?

An interim peace order is the first step in the process. They will provide relief for a brief period of time. Interim peace orders may be followed by a temporary peace order and then a final peace order if necessary.

How can I file for an interim protective order?

Begin by visiting your local district court commissioner’s office where you will need to fill out a petition. You will also need to explain why you are asking for protection. Be prepared to describe any history of abuse by the offender, any active or previous court orders that exist between both parties, and the specific relief that you’re requesting. If you qualify for financial support or if the offender has been providing financial support to you already, you can add copies of financial records to the Emergency Family Maintenance documentation that will be added to the petition.

You will meet with a commissioner to explain your reasoning for the petition request in detail after submission. You may bring along witnesses, copies of police reports, photos of injuries that you experienced at the hands of the abuser, and hospital records to support your case. If the commissioner finds that abuse occurred and that the respondent is likely to commit such acts in the future, they may issue an interim protective order.

The local district court and law enforcement will receive a copy of the protective order. A member of the applicable law enforcement office will serve the respondent with a copy of the order. The order will include the location, date and time of a temporary protective order, as well as the tentative time, date and location of a final protective order.

What protection is provided by an interim protective order?

An interim protective order may require one or more of these items:

  1. The abuser or petitioner may be given temporary custody of a family pet.
  2. The abuser may be prohibited from threatening or contacting you.
  3. The abuser may be forced to move out of the home temporarily. This is true even if you are not married, but have lived together for at least 90 days during the last year.
  4. The abuser could be required to stay away from your temporary home, family members’ homes, your child’s school, your place of employment and your residence.
  5. If the abuse happened while you were still living together, the commissioner could mandate that the abuser vacate the home for a specified time period. They could also grant you temporary custody of any children that you had together.
  6. If you were not married to the abuser, but lived together and your name was the only name on the property deed or lease, the offender may be ordered to leave the home.
  7. Any additional relief that the commissioner feels is sufficient to protect you from future abuse by the offender.

How long are interim protective orders good for?

Interim protective orders will end on the second business day after the respondent has been served with a copy of the order. If that day happens to fall on a date when the respective court isn’t in session, then the order will expire once a temporary protective order hearing has been held by the district or circuit court who will preside over the matter.

What happens if the interim protective order is violated?

If the abuser has violated the protective order, you should contact law enforcement immediately. Be prepared to answer any questions accurately and honestly. Penalties for violating a protective order will vary according to the nature and severity of the offense. For example, theft may result in a fine of around $100, whereas an assault conviction could lead to a jail term of up to ten years. Penalties may increase for each additional violation of the order.

Protective orders can be intimidating. You may not be ready to seek relief against a loved one. If you have questions, we’ve got answers. Contact us today to schedule a no obligation consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down and listen to what you have to say. We’ll advise as to possible next steps and even represent you in court if you wish. Helping you regain your confidence and peace of mind is our ultimate goal.