How to Respond to a Protective Order
So, you’ve been served with a protective order in Anne Arundel, Howard, or Baltimore County, and you are worried about what to do next. Do you call the person who took out the protective order and try to explain yourself? Maybe you read the order and feel you can adequately defend yourself at the upcoming hearing? Before you try any of these things, have you considered all the facts and possibilities? Probably not. Most people do not fully appreciate the potential harm involved in an order of protection. Many completely innocent and well-intentioned individuals have received lengthy jail sentences and permanent criminal convictions for violating an order of protection, even without meaning to.
Before you try to handle the matter alone, you owe it to yourself to first call an experienced criminal defense and family law attorney who can walk you through the appropriate steps to take. Here is an abbreviated guide to how you should respond to a protective order in Maryland.
Step 1: Call a Lawyer
This cannot be overstated. DO NOT CALL THE PETITIONER. An order of protection is a legal court order, where a judge is telling you NOT to have contact with the petitioner. Whether the allegations are completely false or not, if you violate the order, you subject yourself to potential criminal charges. Again, you can go to jail for violating the court order, even if you never assaulted or harmed the person in the first place.
Step 2: Call Your Support System
Chances are the protective order will require you to avoid the other person. If you live together, this can act like a temporary eviction. Remember, a temporary protective order is limited in scope. You will have a full hearing where you and your attorney can dispute the allegations and potentially get you back in your home. For the time being, however, you may need a good friend or family member to let you crash at their place. Make your phone calls and have a plan in place.
Step 3: Read the Order Carefully
The protective order will include a lot of information. Read it carefully. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask your lawyer.
Step 4: Have Your Attorney Coordinate With the Petitioner
Perhaps a dating partner has obtained a temporary protective order against you. This may mean you are not permitted to have any contact with that person. Rather than violating the protective order, your attorney can make phone calls for you in order to coordinate a time for you to retrieve personal effects or items you need for work, while awaiting the hearing.
Step 5: Be Ready to Attend Necessary Court Hearings
If there is a hearing on making the protective order permanent, you will need to be there with your attorney. Make sure you talk to your employer and schedule time off for this important event. In many situations, orders of protection come up in divorce or child custody cases; therefore, a lot can be riding on the outcome.
Get Help Fighting an Order of Protection Now
For help defending against an order of protection, call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland today.