***As of October 1, 2014, domestic violence protective and peace orders have a lower standard. The lower standard is now preponderance of evidence. Please call Scott MacMullan Law, LLC to see what this means. In short, it means that domestic violence restraining orders are easier to get now more than ever. Conversely, they are more difficult to defend.***
Are you in danger of abuse? If so, immediately call 911.
For an immediate restraining order go to the District Court Commisioner’s office at any time of day and obtain a 24 hour interim protective order. Call 443-494-9775 for legal guidance.
If the commissioner finds that you or potentially your children or parent has been abused, the commissioner will issue an interim protective order. A temporary protective order hearing will then be scheduled a couple of days after this interim order.
During courthouse clerk hours you can file a temporary protective order at the courthouse. If you are filing for protection from a relative or someone you share a child with then you need to file in the Circuit Courthouse or the District Courthouse. If you are filing for protection from someone else, say a neighbor, or a boyfriend who is stalking you, then you need to file in the District Courthouse in your County. The temporary protective order hearing can be done without the alleged abuser present. If the judge believes that you or potentially your children or parent has been abused then the judge will order a temporary protective order which will be valid for 7 days. The alleged abuser will have to be notified by service through mail of this order immediately. Within 7 days there will be a final protective order hearing where you will have to prove through “clear and convincing evidence” that there was abuse if it is a family member. If the alleged abuser is a neighbor or an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend then you will additionally have to prove that they are likely to commit future acts against the petitioner. This final hearing will be the most important and most difficult for you. Please consult an attorney.
So in summary, please call 911 if you are in immediate danger. There are potentially 3 hearings you will have to attend to get a long term restraining order against your alleged abuser. (up to 6 months if the case is against a nonfamily member and up to a year if it is a family member or someone you share a child with.) Consult an attorney during this difficult time.
There are opportunities to extend a restraining order. Please call 443-494-9775 for more information.