Being served with a protective order in the state of Maryland can be a very scary moment. You may be left with many questions and be puzzled on what your next step should be. First it is important to know that you are not being arrested or charged with a crime, so you should remain calm. However, it is imperative to take legal action immediately, as protective orders can have serious consequences. If you find out someone has taken out a Protective Order against you, you should reach out to a trusted attorney, like Richard Lebovitz from Lebovitz Law, LLC, to ensure you are protected throughout this process.
What Is a Protective Order?
When served with a protective order, it is important to have an understanding as to what a protective order is and what it does. In the state of Maryland, a protective order can be defined as a special court order that states one person (the Respondent, or the one being served with the protective order) must refrain from doing certain acts against another person (the Petitioner, or the one taking the protective order out.) Essentially, a protective order is the state of Maryland’s version of a restraining order or a stay-away order.
While, a protective order may often times get confused with a peace order, since they both aid in protecting one person from another person due to abusive behavior, it is important to understand the difference between the two. If you do not already know the differences between Maryland protective orders and Maryland peace orders, please refer to our previous blog post, “How Are Protective Orders and Peace Orders in Maryland Different?”, to learn more.
Protective Order Qualifications
Now that we have defined what a protective order is, we must go over the qualifications for a protective order. In order for a person to be eligible for a protective order in the state of Maryland they must prove that the other person has committed an abusive act towards them. The state of Maryland legally defines abuse as:
An act that causes physical harm
An act that placed a person in fear of serious harm
Rape or sexual assault – even just attempted rape or sexual assault
Now not only does the Petitioner have to prove abuse, they must also prove they have a certain type of relationship with the Respondent. The relationships that qualify for a protective order are as followed:
Married, divorced, or currently separated;
Related by marriage, blood or adoption (this includes stepparents and stepchildren if they have lived with you for at least 90 days in the past year);
Living or have lived together in a sexual relationship for at least 90 days in the past year;
Parents of a child together;
Had a sexual relationship with each other in the past year;
A vulnerable adult being taken advantage of by their caretaker
Raped or sexually assaulted by the other person (including attempts) in the past six months.
It is of high importance to know and understand these qualifications as a Respondent, as it could be crucial to your case. If you can prove that (1) you did not commit any of the above acts of abuse or (2) do not have any of the above relationships with the Petitioner, then you have grounds to dispute this protective order.
What To Do If You Have Been Served with A Protective Order
The first thing you should do when served with a protective order, is find representation. You will want to hire an experienced attorney, like The Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC, as they will be able to advise you throughout the entire process. You will also want to make sure and read the protective order carefully and thoroughly with your attorney, as the order will explain how much contact, if any, you can have with the petitioner. This order will also contain a hearing date and since it is not a criminal case, you will not be entitled to a public defender. Which is why it is crucial to have a skilled attorney in your corner. You have the right to either consent to or contest this order and the Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC will help you do so.
Get Help with a Protective Order in Maryland from The Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC
Whether you are searching for an experienced lawyer to assist with your divorce, negotiating child support in Maryland or other issues, The attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.