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Common Questions About Peace Orders In Maryland

What is a Peace Order?

By Maryland statute, a Peace Order is a court order that requires another person to stay away from you and to not contact you.  Do not confuse a Peace Order with a Protective Order. If you are related to the other person, have a sexual-type relationship with the other person, or are a victim of sexual assault, you should consider a Protective Order, not a Peace Order.  A Peace Order is for issues with a neighbor, co-worker, or stranger, etc. and is only applicable if you do not have a familial or intimate relationship with the other person.

Where do I file for a Peace Order in Maryland?

If you need to file for a Peace Order, visit the clerk’s office of your local District or Circuit Court, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  If the District or Circuit Court is closed you may file for a Peace Order with your local District Court Commissioner. They are generally available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You can locate your nearest District Court Commission on the Maryland Court’s website here: https://www.courts.state.md.us/district/directories/commissionermap  This site also has links to the Petition For Peace Order form  and the Peace Order Addendum form that the Court will require you to fill out.

Is there a deadline to file for a Peace Order?

Yes. You must file a Petition For Peace Order within 30 (thirty) days of the act or incident.  If you are not a resident of Maryland, then the act or incident must also have occurred in Maryland.

Why should I file for a Peace Order?

If you have experienced any of the following acts by another person (that you are not related to, and not in a sexual-type relationship with), you should consider filing a Petition For Peace Order:

  • An act that causes you serious bodily harm (punched, hit, kicked, choked, stabbed, etc.)
  • An act that places you in fear of imminent bodily harm (and you have taken it seriously)
  • Assault
  • False Imprisonment

In addition, if you have been subject to the criminal standard of the following acts, you should consider filing a Petition For Peace Order:

  • Rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Trespass
  • Malicious destruction of property
  • Misuse of telephone or electronic communication
  • Revenge porn

What do I need to prove to obtain a Final Peace Order in Maryland?

In order for the Court to grant you a Peace Order, you will need to prove two things to a Judge by a “preponderance of the evidence.” You need to prove that it is more likely than not that:

  • the other person committed the act within 30 days of filing the Petition and
  • that the other person is likely to commit an act again.

What can the Court grant in a Maryland Peace Order?

When you file your Petition for Peace Order, if a Commissioner or Judge finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the other party has committed the act you describe in your Petition, and is likely to commit an act again in the future, you will be granted an Interim Peace Order (from a Commissioner) or a  Temporary Peace Order (from a Judge). This Interim Peace Order or Temporary Peace Order is meant to provide you immediate relief until the Final Peace Order hearing where both you and the other person will have the opportunity to testify and provide evidence to the Judge. The Interim Peace Order generally lasts for 2 (two) days, the Temporary Peace Order generally lasts for 1 (one) week, and the Final Peace Order can last for up to 6 (six) months, but can be extended for up to an additional 6 (six) months.

 When an Interim Peace Order or Temporary Peace Order is granted, the Court can order:

  • the other person to not commit an act against you;
  • the other person to not threaten or harass you;
  • the other person to have no contact with you; and
  • the other person to stay away from your home, work, child care, or school.

When a Final Peace Order is granted, the Court can order:

  • the other person to not commit an act against you;
  • the other person to not threaten or harass you;
  • the other person to have no contact with you;
  • the other person to stay away from your home, work, child care, or school;
  • direct the other person or you to participate in professional counseling, or mediation if both you and the other person agree; and
  • the other person to pay your filing fees and court costs.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Peace Order, we encourage you to speak to an experienced family attorney at Silverman Thompson who can help you decide the right choice that is specific to your circumstance.

For more information, contact Monica Scherer, Esq. at 410-625-4740.

 

 

Disclaimer: This blog is informative in nature. The information contained herein is not to be considered legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship formed between Silverman Thompson and the reader.

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