Domestic abuse is unfortunately common in the State of Maryland. Victims of family violence often feel trapped and like they are unable to take legal action for fear of violent retaliation. Maryland law provides legal recourse and protection for victims of domestic abuse.
Individuals who are being abused by a family member, spouse, romantic partner, or roommate may petition the courts for Maryland civil protection orders. A family violence attorney can help determine whether you may be eligible for a civil protection order and gather evidence to make a compelling case on your behalf.
Qualifying to Petition for a Civil Protection Order
Several criteria must be met before someone can file for a civil protection order in Maryland. The petitioner and the abuser must be blood relatives, related by marriage, be or have been romantically involved in the past 12 months, or share a home together. For example, a person may petition for a civil protection order against the person they are married to or used to be married to. At-risk individuals who are suffering abuse from a romantic partner may also petition the courts for a civil protection order.
The petitioner must show that the actions of the alleged perpetrator rise to the statutory definition of abuse, assault, rape or sexual assault, stalking, or false imprisonment. Under Maryland law, the types of activities that qualify as abuse are specifically defined. Examples of abusive behaviors a local court may grant a civil protection order for include but are not limited to:
- Sexual abuse
- Threats or imminent threats to inflict severe or deadly injuries
- Coercive, threatening, or violent physical contact or an assault
- False imprisonment
A skilled attorney can help someone living in an abusive situation assess what legal options are available to protect them from further abuser.
Types of Civil Protection Orders in Maryland
There are different kinds of protective orders that someone can obtain in our area. When someone files for a civil protection order, depending on the time that the petition was filed, the judge or commissioner may grant an interim or temporary protective order, which usually lasts for up to seven days. This is an ex-parte hearing where the petitioner appears without the other party present and tells his or her story to the judge or commissioner. At the end of the seven days, the court holds a full evidentiary hearing to determine whether a final protective order should be granted in the case. If the petitioner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a form of statutory abuse occurred, a final protective order may be granted and remain in effect for as long as 12 months.
Civil Protection Order Provisions
A Maryland protective order may instruct the abuser to refrain from certain behaviors. For example, the respondent may be ordered to stay away from the petitioner, vacate the shared home, and modify their custodial rights, thereby granting custody of children to the petitioner.
It is not uncommon for a civil protection order to include provisions on family maintenance or support if the petitioner presents the necessary evidence and need. The order could also compel the respondent to pay rent or mortgage on the family home. If the respondent violates the order, they may face jail time and other legal sanctions.
Contact a Maryland Civil Protection Order Attorney Today
If you are considering filing for a Maryland civil protection order, it is imperative to reach out to an experienced attorney who can evaluate your current situation and explain your legal options. A seasoned lawyer can advocate for your rights at your hearing and work tirelessly to secure a successful outcome in your case. Contact a local attorney for a confidential legal consultation.