Maryland Peace Order Laws

In Maryland, peace orders are similar to protective orders as they involve court orders protecting against the harmful acts or threats of others. Often these are sought in domestic violence cases, but they can be used in other situations, like when a celebrity is seeking protection from an "overly devoted" fan.

This relationship of the parties is actually what determines whether a protective or peace order can be used. Protective orders apply to domestic relationships, such as when the petitioner (the one seeking court protection) and the respondent (the one who will be subject to the order):

  • Are current or former spouses;
  • Have had a sexual relationship and lived together for at least 90 days during the last year;
  • Are related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • Have a parent-child or stepparent-stepchild relationship and lived together for at least 90 days during the last year;
  • Have a child in common; and
  • Have had a sexual relationship within 1 year before the petition.

In all other cases where no domestic relationship exists, a peace order would be needed.

Obtaining a Maryland Peace Order

To obtain a peace order, a petitioner must allege that the respondent took any of the following actions within 30 days before filing the petition:

  • Acts causing serious bodily harm or placing petitioner in fear of serious bodily harm;
  • Assault;
  • Rape or a sexual offense;
  • False imprisonment;
  • Harassment;
  • Stalking;
  • Trespass; and
  • Malicious destruction of property.

Peace orders are issued after a hearing in which a judge weighs the evidence and determines whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent:

  • Has committed the alleged acts; and
  • Is likely to commit the alleged acts in the future.

Maryland Peace Order Laws at a Glance

You can learn more about specific Maryland peace order laws by consulting the chart below.

Statutes

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Section 3-1503 (grounds/eligibility for peace orders)

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Section 3-1503.1 (allowing for interim peace orders issued by commissioners when a judge is unavailable)

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Section 3-1504 (interim peace orders issued by judges)

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Section 3-1505 (peace order hearings and mutual peace orders)

Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Section 3-1508 (providing criminal penalties for violations)

Possible Penalties

Peace Order Violations: Violating a final or temporary peace order is a misdemeanor. First time offenses are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up to 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.

False Information In A Petition: Knowingly providing false information in a petition for a peace order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

Defenses

Defective Notice: A respondent must have adequate notice of any hearing dates as well as notice of penalties for violations of peace orders. Notice may be defective where it does not convey this information and where it was not properly served.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Maryland Peace Order Laws: Related Resources

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Whether you're on the requesting or receiving end of a Maryland peace order, there are important legal implications once one is issued. Depending on your situation, there may even be additional alternatives to help you accomplish your goals. Find out more by receiving a free initial case review from an experienced criminal defense attorney near you.

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