In September 2023, 2,017 domestic violence protective orders were issued in Maryland. Unfortunately, this means that, on average, 67 people across the state experienced some type of domestic violence each day.
Also, this is just the reported incidents. Thousands of cases go unreported each month.
Today, Maryland has established several laws to protect domestic violence victims. One is the Domestic Violence Order of Protection. Here, you can learn more about this order and how to acquire one for protection.
If you have more questions, our Maryland domestic violence attorney can help.
What Is a Domestic Violence Order of Protection?
A Domestic Violence Order of Protection is a legally binding directive by Maryland courts to safeguard victims from potential harm or threats by an alleged abuser. Designed specifically to protect individuals in domestic relationships, this order requires the offender to cease violent or menacing actions. It may also prohibit any form of contact with the victim.
It acts as a barrier, restricting the abuser from getting close to or communicating with the victim, ensuring their safety and peace of mind. For those facing imminent threats, this order provides an essential layer of security and underscores Maryland’s commitment to tackling domestic violence proactively.
If someone believes they are at risk, consulting a Maryland domestic violence attorney is an important step to understand and secure this protection.
Types of Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Maryland
Maryland law categorizes domestic violence protection orders based on their duration and the stage of the legal process:
Interim Protective Order
An Interim Order is a preliminary protective measure issued by a Commissioner when the Maryland court is not in session, providing immediate, short-term relief to victims of domestic violence. Typically granted without a full hearing, it remains effective until the court can convene for a more detailed evaluation, usually the next day the court is in session.
This order quickly responds to emergent threats, ensuring victims’ safety during the initial stages of seeking protection.
Temporary Protective Order
A Temporary Order is a protective mandate provided after a brief court hearing, wherein the victim outlines his/her need for protection. This order remains in effect for a short period, bridging the gap between the initial application and a full court hearing. It offers victims an added layer of safety while awaiting a comprehensive legal review.
Final Protective Order
After conducting a full court hearing, a Final Protective Order is issued if the judge determines there has been an act of abuse and there is a need for protection. This definitive protective measure offers long-term safety to the victim, often lasting for one year.
The Final Protective Order represents the court’s conclusive stance, protecting against potential threats or abuse.
Eligibility for a Domestic Violence Protection Order
Not everyone can apply for a protective order. In Maryland, to be eligible, the individual must be a victim of abuse by:
- A current or former spouse
- A person related by blood, marriage, or adoption
- A person they lived with for at least 90 days within the past year
- Someone with whom they have a child in common
- An intimate partner with whom they’ve had a sexual relationship within the past year
Steps to Obtain a Protection Order
If you want to obtain a protection order, follow these steps:
Visit the Local Courthouse
Begin the process by heading to your county’s circuit or district court. This initial step involves familiarizing yourself with the court environment, understanding where to submit your application, and obtaining the necessary forms to initiate a protection order request.
Fill Out the Necessary Forms
You’ll provide detailed accounts of the abuse incidents, ensuring clarity and precision. Be thorough and honest, as this documentation is the foundational evidence for your request. Careful documentation will significantly impact the court’s decision.
Attend the Hearing
During this phase, you’ll present your case before a judge, explaining the need for protection based on your previous submissions. This preliminary hearing is crucial, as the judge may grant a temporary order based on your evidence.
A more comprehensive court session follows the temporary order, when both parties can present their cases. Based on the evidence and testimony, the judge will determine if a Final Protective Order is warranted, ensuring long-term protection for the victim.
The Role of a Maryland Domestic Violence Attorney
While the process may seem straightforward, the nuances of the legal system can be daunting. This is where a Maryland domestic violence attorney comes into play. An experienced attorney can:
- Guide you through the application process
- Represent your interests during the hearing
- Ensure that all legal protocols are followed, maximizing the chances of the protection order being granted
Having an experienced attorney by your side can be invaluable, especially when navigating the emotional turmoil of domestic violence situations.
Penalties for Violating an Order of Protection
In Maryland, violating any provisions of a Domestic Violence Order of Protection is a serious offense. Penalties may include jail time, fines, and mandatory participation in intervention programs. It’s essential to report any violations to the police promptly and consider consulting with a Maryland domestic violence attorney to protect your rights.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Get Protection and Peace of Mind
Domestic violence is unfortunate for many, but Maryland provides legal avenues to protect victims. The Domestic Violence Order of Protection is a barrier against abusers, ensuring the safety of those at risk. Whether you want to understand your rights or need representation in a protective order case, contacting our Maryland Family Law attorneys can make all the difference.