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Impact of a Maryland Civil Protective Order

The impact of a Maryland civil protective order can be life-altering. A civil protection order can require a person to do many things or it can prohibit a person from doing many things. The respondent could be ordered to have no contact with the petitioner. They are not allowed to go to the petitioner’s home. They could be ordered to leave their own home when the petitioner and the respondent live together. The court can order the respondent to vacate the home which creates complications for the respondent. They must find an alternate place to live for up to a year. A protective order can also require a person to provide emergency family maintenance to the petitioner. That only applies to parties that are residing together that have a child in common or are married to each other.

When the respondent works outside of the home and pays all of the bills while the petitioner is at home raising the children, the respondent might have to leave their home, find a place to live, and continue to provide financial support to the petitioner as a result of the civil protection order. If you are having issues with a civil protective order, an experienced Maryland attorney is here to help.

Good Cause in Maryland Protective Orders

Good cause is an adequate or substantial reason to take action. A preponderance of the evidence must be met before a before a judge would put a protective order in place. Whenever the attorney and individual go to court and have a hearing, there is a level of burden of proof they must establish. There was a time under the law when the burden of proof for getting a protective order was high. A couple of years ago, the legislature changed the burden of proof needed to get a protective order. Now, the burden of proof is incredibly low. It is a preponderance of the evidence which means it is just a low standard. That was done because the level of proof needed for a protective order seemed unattainable. There was a realization that sometimes people do not have much proof about the abuse. It may simply that a testimony is all they have.

Currently, if a person requests a protective order, they must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that what they say happened actually happened. They need to convince a judge that they need to have the benefit of a Maryland protective order to prevent future harm.

Civil Protective Order Consequences

A protective order can negatively impact a person who is criminally charged if the person chooses to testify at the protective order hearing. If they make any statements before their criminal trial takes place, the state’s attorney has the option of getting the printed draft of the person’s testimony at the protective order hearing and using that statement against the person at their criminal trial. It is important that the lawyer speaks with the individual about whether they should testify or even contest the protective order. It may be best if they simply consent to the protective order and avoid making any statements in court prior to the criminal case.

Respondent’s Role

Another way a civil protection order could potentially hurt a person’s criminal case is when the respondent does not comply with the protective order. It can get confusing for a respondent when the petitioner attempts to contact them. They may be getting texts or phone calls from the petitioner who requested the protection order. However, that is not a green light for the respondent to contact the petitioner because the only person who can be punished is the respondent.

Protective orders are not a two-way street. They are a one-way street and it runs against the respondent. Many times people do not know any better or they behave against their better judgment. They contact the petitioner and later at their criminal trial, it comes out that the person violated their protective order. Judges get upset when people disobey a direct order of the court. It does not help the individual when they have any contact in violation of the protective order. A legal counsel should be contact immediately if there are any questions or concerns about the impact of a Maryland civil protective order.

Protective Orders in Maryland Assault Cases