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Peace Orders and Protective Orders

A petition for a Maryland peace order or protective order must allege specific criminal acts as the basis for the order. I can effectively defend you against the issuance of a Maryland peace order or protective order, and against any related criminal charges, including harassment, assault, stalking, violation of a peace order, or violation of a protective order. A final peace or protective order can also damage your reputation and may result in the loss of your job, even if no criminal charges are ever filed.

Maximum Penalties For Violation of a Peace Order or a Protective Order in Maryland:

  • Violation of a Peace Order: misdemeanor, up to 90 days incarceration and $1,000
  • Violation of a Protective Order, First Offense: misdemeanor, 90 days incarceration and $1,000
  • Violation of a Protective Order, Second or Subsequent Offense: misdemeanor, 1 year incarceration and $2,500

If someone has filed for a Maryland peace or protective order against you, please contact me immediately so that we can challenge it in court. The best time to defend against a peace or protective order is before a final order has been issued.  Having been the subject of a peace or protective order in the past can also disqualify you from many jobs, making it very important to fight these orders before they become final. It is also very easy to violate a peace order or a protective order accidentally, and the penalties for violation can be severe. If you are the subject of a Maryland peace or protective order, please contact me as soon as possible at (301) 556-8709 so that we can protect your legal rights and your future employment.

When someone reports a crime, it is not unusual for the state to encourage them to file for a peace order or a protective order. This can often lead to the issuance of an interim, temporary, or final peace or protective order against you, even if your accuser did not initially intend to file for a peace or protective order.

Conversely, when your accuser files a petition for a peace order or a protective order, they are almost always making statements that allege a crime. Their allegations may result in criminal charges being filed. Because the criminal charges may sometimes take longer to process than the petition for a peace order, a warrant for your arrest may be issued after the peace order is served. I can find out if there are any criminal charges or arrest warrants against you, and defend you on those charges if necessary.

Maryland protective orders are issued to protect spouses, families, and cohabitants, and peace orders are issued to protect other people. In both cases, the person asking for the order must demonstrate that they are the victim of one of a number of specific abusive acts, and that you were the perpetrator.  In the case of a peace order only, they must also demonstrate that you are likely to commit one of the specific abusive acts again.  Violating either of these orders after they are issued against you can subject you to penalties including fines and incarceration.

Violation of a Maryland Peace Order or Protective Order

Maryland peace orders and protective orders are easy to violate accidentally because of their broad scope, and violations can sometimes be purposely caused by the person that is supposedly being protected by the order. Prosecutors can be particularly vigorous in this area, even for the most trivial violations; domestic violence is a very political issue. Prosecutorial vigor in this area can be doubly dangerous because the person protected by a peace or protective order is also sometimes attempting to manipulate or abuse the person subject to the order, turning the prosecution into just another means of abuse.

The maximum penalties may seem severe, but there are many ways that an effective lawyer can defend you against Maryland peace orders and Maryland protective orders, both when the order is issued, and afterward. Without the assistance of an attorney, it can be extremely difficult for you to know whether or not you are guilty of the crime charged, much less whether the prosecutor will be able to prove it. I can also defend you by fighting the underlying peace order or protective order to prevent problems in the future. A peace order or protective order that is rescinded or never issued in the first place is impossible to violate.

Fighting Invalid Peace Orders and Protective Orders

Peace orders and protective orders, sometimes referred to collectively as restraining orders, are similar in that they are issued to protect someone from a particular other person in the future, but they operate in favor of different classes of people. There are specific categories defining who may apply for a protective order. If a person is not in those categories, they must file for a peace order instead. One of the many ways that I can defend you from a protective order or a peace order is to argue that the person requesting the order is not in the correct category.

Who can file for a Protective Order against you:

  • Your current or former spouse
  • Someone who has had a sexual relationship with you and has resided with you in the home for 90 days within the last year
  • Your relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • An adult who lacks the physical or mental capacity to provide for their daily needs
  • Someone who has a child with you
  • Parents, children, stepchildren, or stepparents of either you or another party who falls in one of the above categories that resided with either you or the other party for 90 days within the last year

Who can file for a Peace Order against you:

  • Anyone who is not in one of the categories of people who may file for a protective order

It is not enough that the person filing for the peace order against you is in the right category of person. They also must be able to demonstrate that you committed one of a number of specific abusive acts against them. Depending on whether they are filing for a peace order or a protective order, the requisite abusive acts are somewhat different.

Acts that may qualify someone for a Protective Order

  • An act that causes serious bodily harm
  • An act that places the person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm
  • Assault
  • Attempted or completed rape or sexual offense
  • False imprisonment
  • Stalking
  • Child abuse, if the person protected by the order is a child
  • Abuse of an adult who lacks the physical or mental capacity to provide for their daily needs, if the person protected by the order is such an adult

Acts that may qualify someone for a Peace Order

  • An act that causes serious bodily harm
  • An act that places the person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm
  • Assault
  • Attempted or completed rape or sexual offense
  • False imprisonment
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Trespass
  • Malicious destruction of property

Each of these acts has a detailed legal definition which I can use to fight the Maryland peace order or Maryland protective order so that it is not issued against you. There are also many other defenses that I can assert on your behalf. Whether you are accused of violating a peace order or a protective order, or you are the subject of one, call (301) 556-8709 today so that I can start protecting your freedom and your reputation right away.