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Maryland Restraining Orders
A restraining order is an order that asks the court for relief when somebody feels threatened with serious physical injury, death, or bodily harm by another party.
Restraining orders and civil protection orders are essentially the same things. When two parties are in a domestic relationship with each other, they are seeking protective orders. When they are in a non-domestic relationship, they are seeking peace orders.
To better understand the role of Maryland restraining orders in your domestic violence case, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A domestic violence lawyer in Maryland can help build a claim to help produce a successful outcome on your behalf.
Filing the Order
Anybody who believes they are being harassed or threatened by another party can file a Maryland restraining order in the court system.
The person must demonstrate their fear to the court by way of a preponderance of the evidence, which is a fairly low standard.
Violating the Order
When someone is accused of violating a restraining order in Maryland, they face criminal charges that carry a period of incarceration as well a high level of fines and lengthy periods of probation.
Ex Parte Orders
An ex parte restraining order is a restraining order that is filed by another party in the same way others are filed. The person is looking for relief from the court to protect themselves from harassment, injury, or bodily harm by another party.
A judge grants an ex parte restraining order in Maryland when they are persuaded by a preponderance of the evidence that good cause exists for the person claiming to be fearful of harassment, death, or serious physical injury by the other party.
Depending on the judge, an ex parte restraining order can last from a few months up to one year.
An ex parte restraining order can be extended when the person comes back to court and makes the case again to the judge that the fear still exists and gives reasons why the order should be extended.
Usually, a person’s criminal case is only affected by the order regarding any testimony taken at the hearing. The finding that caused a Maryland restraining order to be put in place for protection does not demonstrate any kind of finding by the court regarding the criminal case. This does not in any way increase or decrease the likelihood of prosecution in this case.
Modifying a Protective Order
A party can petition the court to modify the protective or restraining order and present the reasons why they want the modification.
If the judge finds an appropriate basis, they can make a decision to grant, but no other party has the power to do so besides the judge.
Importance of Abiding by the Protective Order
Not abiding by the provisions outlined in a Maryland restraining order is a separate criminal offense that can carry the possibility of jail time, probation, and high fines. It is important that a person take the order seriously.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that if they reconciled with the party seeking the order, they can have contact with them because that person no longer wishes to proceed with the protective order. If modifications to the order need to be made, the party must go through the court to have it changed.
When someone has a Maryland protective order and believes the other party is in violation of the order, usually the right thing to do is to call the police to let them know that there is a violation. The police officers conduct an investigation to see whether or not an arrest is appropriate given the circumstances.
Benefit of Legal Representation
It is important that a Maryland restraining order hearing take place for two reasons. Number one, it usually takes place before any criminal proceeding and provides the opportunity to cross-examine the complaining witness in the case.
It gives the defense attorney insight about how to prepare properly for the criminal charges. Secondly, a protective order court hearing also gives an opportunity for the defendant to tell their side of the story.
Working with an attorney ensures that a person is protecting themselves. Their attorney can assist them in making decisions about whether it is appropriate to testify in the proceeding to make sure to preserve the record for any future proceedings where that testimony could potentially be used against the person negatively.