Maryland understands that domestic violence can imperil people across the state. Those afraid for their safety have the right to seek a Protective Order against someone in their family who is abusing or threatening them. Peace Orders apply to people with a different relationship, such as co-workers or dating partners.
Whether you received notice that someone is seeking a Protective Order or a Peace Order against you, however, you do have the right to defend yourself in court before the judge grants the request.
The burden of proof is on the person seeking the order
Most people seeking protective orders do so because they fear for their own well-being. Still, some people could abuse these important legal protections as a means of gaining the upper hand in a divorce or civil court case. To secure an order, the person requesting it on behalf of themselves or a third-party must substantiate their claims of fear for their safety.
Maryland requires that they provide proof of one of the following:
- previous acts that resulted in injury
- behavior that made them fear for their safety
- assault or sexual abuse, as well as the attempt at either
- false imprisonment or kidnapping
- intentional destruction of property
- digital stalking, harassment or threats
Evidence used in these cases can range from police records to the history of mobile communication between you and the alleged victim. Bringing your own evidence that provides context for certain conversations as well as pushing back against completely unsubstantiated can help you protect yourself from the consequences of an unfounded protection order impacting your divorce or civil case.