Domestic violence constitutes a serious crime in Maryland if individuals face conviction. Due to the aggressive nature of the crime, many victims choose to enact protective orders or peace orders to stop the alleged domestic abuser from assaulting or contacting him or her. If a loved one claims that you committed domestic violent acts against him or her, they have the authority to file an order against you for protection.
Unfortunately, should you violate these orders, even if you believe or know that their allegations will prove false in court, you can face significant penalties by ignoring the order. Especially in domestic violence cases where an individual may experience physical abuse, the court first recognizes the order request and will attempt to resolve the situation at a later time.
If you receive a protective order or a peace order, you may wish to immediately contact an attorney to help you determine your options when facing domestic violence allegations. These criminal defense attorneys have many years of experience defending false claims, and hiring an attorney can aid you in avoiding prosecution.
The difference between protective orders and peace orders
Both protective orders and peace orders work to end contact and communication from an individual to an alleged victim. The order that you may receive depends on the relationship that you have with the accuser.
An alleged victim could file a protective order if he or she is:
- Your current or former spouse
- Your significant other that has lived with you for 90 days or more
- Related to you
- The parent of your child
- A sexual partner
Protective orders ensure that an alleged abuser must:
- Stop the abuse
- Not contact the alleged victim
- Stay away from their house
- Leave the house if the individuals live together
- Face the removal of custody, if applicable
If you do not have a relationship in the above categories with the individual, he or she will file a peace order. Both orders will see a temporary restraint in contact until a court determines otherwise.
Peace orders are most commonly used in situations involving an alleged victim and an alleged stalker, a date or a neighbor. A legal peace order will:
- Stop you from abusing the alleged victim
- Stop you from contacting the alleged victim
Though the court may eventually find that you will prove not guilty of domestic violence or abuse, you still may not violate a temporary order in Maryland. If you do, you may see penalties such as:
- Up to $1,000 in fines; and/or
- Up to 90 days in prison
When facing these orders and their subsequent potential penalties, it is essential you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. You want to give yourself the best opportunity to avoid charges for domestic violence or violating protective or peace orders in Maryland.