Fighting a Protective Order
Under Section 4-504 of the Maryland Family Code, a person can bring a protective order against anyone who presents a threat of harm. Protective orders are designed to create a judicial notice of potential abuse or violence, and to put the abuser on notice. Violating a protective order can have severe consequences for the accused.
In fact, even if no wrongdoing is proven, some judges may be biased against the accused abuser and see that person as guilty of the accusations, especially if no defense is offered. If you are accused of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, including abuse of a child, make sure you hire a Maryland protective order lawyer right away.
How Does Someone Get a Protective Order Against You?
Legally, the person seeking the protective order must be a Maryland resident. It does not matter where the abuse occurred. The petitioner must sign the document making the allegations, and it is sworn under oath. Therefore, it is very serious to lie on a petition, as this could constitute perjury.
Section 4-504.1 details specific rules and technical formalities (right down to the font and typeface to be used on the notice) for filing a petition for a protective order. The person making the allegations must have the document personally served on you, and you must be informed of the time and place for the hearing on the matter. If you are served with this document, do not ignore it.
How Fast Can a Protective Order Be Issued?
A full protective order can take time, and it requires that you be notified and given a chance to defend yourself. But a court can issue a protective order on the spot on the same day if the petition seeks an “interim protective order.” Some courts call these emergency protective orders. In fact, Maryland Courts have terrific resources for domestic violence victims to use in order to get help with filing these. The fact is, however, an interim protective order can greatly hinder your day-to-day life. Here are just some of the things these orders can order you to do:
- Stop abusing or threatening the alleged victim
- Stop all communications with the alleged victim
- Stop going to the alleged victim’s home
- Move out of your own home if you live with an alleged victim
- Give temporary custody to the alleged victim
- Give the alleged victim the house temporarily
- Not go near the alleged victim’s place of work
- Award temporary custody of family pets to the alleged victim
As you can probably tell from this partial list, if your ex accuses you of domestic violence, you could be forced to move out of your home, give up custody of your kids and pets, and not even go home to shower. If this occurs in the middle of a divorce proceeding, it can cause people to have nowhere to go, they can lose their jobs, and in some cases, it can create other problems like temporary homelessness.
What to Do When Served With Notice of a Protective Order
Do not violate the order. Do not go to your house for any reason. Do not call your ex. Do not call your ex’s family or friends. Take a deep breath and call a lawyer immediately.
If you believe your ex has filed a fraudulent protective order or has misrepresented the facts to use a protective order to gain a strategic advantage in a divorce, you have rights. Contact the experienced and aggressive team at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. With offices in Glen Burnie and Columbia, we make it convenient for you to get the help and advice you need. Don’t take chances when everything is on the line.