Domestic violence is not physical violence alone. Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior; it is not caused by anger, mental problems, drugs or alcohol, or other common excuses. Here at the Law Offices of McKenzie and Tehrani, we believe in helping those that can not legally help themselves. We have come up with an informative FAQ page but if you have any further questions or need legal counseling, please contact us today.

The final protective order will state the effective period for the protective order. Generally, the protective order cannot exceed one year. If the other party consents, the protective order can be effective for two years. There are some circumstances under which the order may become permanent (see the next question).

It is important to know when the protective order has expired. Maryland police and courts cannot enforce an expired protective order.

After an interim, temporary, or final protective order has been issued against an individual, a permanent protective order can be issued against the individual in the following circumstances:

  • the individual was convicted and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 5 years for the act of abuse that led to the issuance of the protective order AND the individual has served at least 12 months of the sentence; OR
  • during the term of the protective order, the individual committed an act of abuse against the person eligible for relief AND the individual was convicted and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of at least 5 years for the act AND has served at least 12 months of the sentence.

The victim of the act of abuse described above must be the person eligible for relief in the interim, temporary, or final protective order.

The protective order remains permanent until the victim requests that the court terminate the protective order.

If the respondent continues to harass you or contacts you, you should call the police immediately. If the respondent does not follow the order, the respondent may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can be subject to a fine of up to $500 or a jail sentence of up to 90 days. The penalties are increased for a second and subsequent offense of violating the Protective Order.

If the respondent violates the Protective Order by failing to pay the required Emergency Family Maintenance, you may consider filing in court for contempt. If you file for contempt, there will be a contempt hearing, and the respondent will be ordered to pay what he/she owes you in Emergency Family Maintenance if the Judge finds that the respondent has violated the terms of the Order. The Judge also has the authority to order an immediate and continuing wage withholding order.

Yes, you can ask the court to modify a protective order. The notice must be given to all affected persons eligible for relief and the respondent. A hearing is required.

The court form is available online through the Maryland Courts website. You can also get a paper from the clerk’s office.

Whether you should modify your existing protective order or seek a new protective order depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your situation. It’s a good idea to talk to an attorney.

Yes, you can ask the court to rescind a protective order. The notice must be given to all affected persons eligible for relief and the respondent. A hearing is also required.

Yes. If a District Court granted or denied the protective order, then the decision can be appealed to the circuit court in the county where the District Court is located. Appeals to the circuit court are heard de novo (meaning a new trial).

If a circuit court granted or denied the protection, then the decision can be appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

The Court may extend the length of a Protective Order under certain circumstances.

After a hearing and good cause shown, you may extend the length of a Protective Order by 6 months. The standard of “good cause shown” is entirely up to the judge’s discretion. There is persuasive case law from other states that suggests what might be considered “good cause,” but Maryland law does not define “good cause” specifically.

If the respondent abuses you while the Protective Order is in effect, you can seek to extend the order for up to 2 years.

If the respondent abuses you again within 1 year of the expiration of a Protective Order and the prior Protective Order was valid for at least 6 months, the Court may award you a 2-year Protective Order.

The Court may not, however, add any relief that was not previously awarded.

A later circuit court order pertaining to any of the provisions included in the final protective order, such as custody, visitation, use and possession, and Emergency Family Maintenance, supersedes those provisions in the final protective order.

Yes, Maryland will enforce an order of protection issued by a court of another state or a Native American tribe. However, Maryland enforces the out-of-state or foreign protective order only to the extent that the relief granted in the order is permitted under § 4-506 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code. Some states offer forms of relief that are not available in Maryland, and only those forms of relief that are available under Maryland law will be enforced.

This is not a requirement, but you can register your out-of-state order for protection with the District Court or circuit court.

Yes. The federal Violence Against Women Act and the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution provides for valid Maryland protective orders to be enforceable in other states. Make sure you check the other state’s laws as there may be limitations or additional requirements.

The legal terms are not always the same across states. Another state may refer to a protective order as a restraining order. In Maryland, the term “protective order” is used.

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