Maryland has long seen the benefits of allowing victims of domestic abuse
to obtain court orders that prohibit abusers from having contact with
their victims. Currently, Maryland recognizes three types of protective
orders: interim, temporary and final.
The interim protective order is really a method of last resort. Victims
seeking protection from the courts when the court clerk’s offices
at both the circuit and district courts are closed can still receive an
interim effective order in some cases. Typically, a victim will seek out
the nearest district court commissioner and appeal to him or her for assistance.
However, a personal representative of the victim can also ask for relief.
The commissioner then may issue an interim protective order if he or she
finds the information regarding the abuse credible. That order goes into
effect as soon as a law enforcement official serves a copy of the order
on the abuser. This order usually stays in effect for just a few days,
and typically will be replaced by a temporary protective order as soon
as the courts reopen.
The temporary protective order, as its name implies, is only meant to prevent
the abuser from having contact with the victim for seven days after it
is served on the abuser. The court will then hold a full court hearing
at the end of that seven-day period to determine whether a final protective
order is necessary. One of the benefits of the temporary protective order
is that the victim can obtain this protection with or without the abuser
being present (ex-parte). Generally this order will be in effect only
seven days, although a judge can extend it for six months.
A final protective order will generally remain effective for a period of
one year. A court can only issue this type of order if both sides have
had a chance to present their evidence and testimony for the court’s
consideration. It’s important to note that the victim’s presence
is required at this hearing.
whether you are being abused, or wrongfully accused of domestic abuse, you can benefit from consulting with an attorney about your case. A Maryland
family law attorney can represent you during the various stages of the
protective order, including arguing your case to the court.
Source: WomensLaw.org, “Domestic Violence Protective Orders,” accessed May. 21, 2015