Brian Sadur and Donny Knepper are experienced Protective Order and Peace Order attorneys in Maryland.
The terms “Protective Orders” and “Peace Orders” are often used interchangeably by laypeople. While they are similar, there are some key differences. Protective Orders are for people who are seeking protection from someone who they have a close familial bond with or from some someone who they are living with, usually a boyfriend or girlfriend.
As you can imagine, people often apply for Protective Orders under some upsetting and alarming circumstances. Given the urgent nature of the cases, Protective Order proceedings are designed to move through the court system quickly. Depending on where a person files for their Protective Order, there might be a hearing within two business days and then another hearing seven days after that to determine whether a Final Protective Order should be entered.
Powers of the Protective Order
If a person can prove their case, then the Court, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, can order the following:
- Refrain from further abuse or threats of abuse;
- Refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing;
- Refrain from entering the residence;
- Vacate the home shared with the person eligible for relief;
- Remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence;
- Remain away from the residence of any family member;
- Remain away from the child care provider;
- The Court may also award temporary custody of minor child, and temporary visitation, and order that law enforcement use all reasonable and necessary force to return a child to the custodial parent;
- The Court may award “temporary” possession of any pet;
- A Protective Order may modify an existing custody order
emergency family maintenance (financial support);
- Temporary use and possession of vehicle (if jointly titled, and necessary for employment or care of child);
- counseling; and
- payment of costs.
Requirements for a Protective Order
The Court can only issue a Protective Order if it has been established that “abuse” has occurred, as defined by Maryland law. For the purposes of a Protective Order, abuse means any of the following acts:
- An act that causes serious bodily harm;
- An act that places a person eligible for relief in fear of imminent serious bodily harm;
- Assault in any degree;
- Rape or sexual offense under §§ 3-303 through 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article or attempted rape or sexual offense in any degree;
- False imprisonment; or
- Stalking under § 3-802 of the Criminal Law Article.
The person who is seeking a Protective Order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the abuse occurred. This essentially means that they must prove that it is more likely than not that the abuse occurred.
Whether you are applying for a Protective Order or defending yourself against such an order, Brian and Donny can help you. While these cases move quickly, they should not be underestimated. A Protective Order can have a dramatic impact on your family and on your life. They are often used as a precursor to a divorce. What happens in a Protective Order proceeding can influence decisions affecting custody, support and property. They can also be the first step towards criminal charges if the alleged abuser is later accused of violating the Protective Order.
Standard of Proof for Protective Order
The person who is seeking a Protective Order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the abuse occurred.
These are serious issues. Contact Brian and Donny today to discuss your case and learn more about your options.