Courts in Annapolis and across Maryland issue protective orders (commonly referred to as a restraining order) when they have credible evidence of potential violence between two parties, or other types of abuse. In Maryland, protective orders are obtained either in the District Court or Circuit Court.
What counts as abuse, for a protective order?
- An act that causes serious bodily harm (e.g., kicking, punching, choking/strangling, shoving, shooting, hitting with an object, stabbing, or biting);
- An act that places a person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm (including threats of harm);
- Rape or sexual assault (including attempts)
- False imprisonment;
- Mental injury to a minor child;
- Stalking; or
- Revenge porn
If a protection order is taken out against you in Maryland, you need to understand your legal rights – and the restrictions you’re under for the time being.
Here are two serious mistakes you want to steer clear of if a restraining order is issued against you:
1. Doing nothing
Sometimes, a spouse or partner can make false domestic violence claims in order to obtain an order of protection against you. This is usually common when one party wants to justify divorce or gain an upper hand during child custody litigation. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t assume that the truth will win the case. Besides barring you from seeing your family, a restraining order can also impact other aspects of your life, including damaging your reputation in the community.
When you get served with a protective order summons to come to court, you need to contact a lawyer. A major mistake people make is simply not showing up to court after they have been served. If you do not show up to court after being served, the court could grant the protective order against you anyway.
2. Violating the terms of the protective order
You may be tempted to reach out to your accuser to clear things up or talk them into seeing reason. However, this can be a costly mistake because that would put you in violation of the protective order.
Do not contact your accuser for any reason, even though social media or another party. If you need to collect things from your home, ask the court to permit you to go in (with an officer) at a specific time (call the police and ask for a domestic escort to obtain your personal belongings).
Having an order of protection taken out against you can be unsettling. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while fighting back.