Maryland Courts remain open for many matters including the filing and hearing of Protective Orders. Protective Orders are an important tool that can be used by Marylanders to obtain safety from domestic violence, stalking, false imprisonment and revenge porn. If you are subject to a Protective Order, you need to take this matter seriously as violations can result in criminal sanctions being brought against you.

Below I address several questions you may have about Protective Orders and the ways to protect yourself against a Protective Order:

  1. WHAT IS A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
      • A Protective Order is a fully enforceable Court Order in which the Petitioner (person seeking the protective order), has gone to Court and alleged that you have done certain illegal acts.
  1. WHY WASN’T I NOTIFIED ABOUT THE FIRST PROTECTIVE ORDER HEARING?
      • Maryland law allows for the initial phase of a Protective Order Hearing to occur without the Respondent (person served with the Protective Order), being present.
      • You must be notified or served before the final Protective Order is put in place.
  1. WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME IN A PROTECTIVE ORDER HEARING?
    • If the Court grants the Protective Order, the Court could:
      • Remove you from your home for up to one year
      • Grant custody of your kids to the other party
      • Preclude you from going to your children’s school
      • Preclude you from seeing your kids during the entire one-year period
      • Require you to pay Emergency Family Maintenance
      • Require you to turn in all of your firearms to the local police
      • Require you to undergo anger management courses
  1. IS A PROTECTIVE ORDER CRIMINAL?
      • No, but a violation of a Protective Order, such as simply contacting the Petitioner, could result in a criminal charge.
  1. WILL A PROTECTIVE ORDER AFFECT MY JOB?
      • Protective Orders are public records and therefore, any employer or future employer can view some details of your case online. Moreover, Protective Orders are a significant obstacle for individuals seeking employment or who are currently employed by State and Federal government entities.
  1. WILL A PROTECTIVE ORDER EFFECT A DIVORCE CASE OR CUSTODY CASE?
      • The implications of a Protective Order can have profoundly positive or negative impacts on any divorce or custody case.
  1. HOW QUICKLY WILL I GO TO COURT?
      • Generally, upon service, you will have a trial within one (1) week of being served. This means you have a very limited period to get prepared.
  1. WHAT IS A FINAL PROTECTIVE ORDER HEARING?
      • This is “end of the road” as it pertains to a Protective Order case.  You must be fully prepared and have your evidence and testimony ready for this Hearing. The Judge will render her final decision at the end of this Hearing.

 

How to Protect Yourself Against a Protective Order

After 15 years of handling these types of matters, here is my list of the best ways you can protect yourself against a Protective Order:

      • Immediately meet with and retain experienced counsel to help you.
      • Do not wait until the last minute or ignore this issue.
      • Gather your thoughts about the events alleged and begin working on an outline of your defense.
      • Be fully prepared for trial including having your witnesses and evidence ready. Experienced counsel should be able to walk you through this process.
      • Follow the exact terms of the Interim or Temporary Protective Order.  You will have your day in Court to fight it.
      • Do not post anything on social media about the case.
      • Do not underestimate the significance or impact of a Protective Order.
      • Take a deep breath and understand that the burden of proof always remains with the Petitioner.

If you have been served with or seek the safety of a Protective Order, do not hesitate to call our office at 443-709-9999, or contact us for a free consultation. We are experienced attorneys who handle these matters every day in all Courts throughout Maryland.  We are trained and ready to help you immediately.

Zach Groves

Sr. Domestic Partner