Protective & Peace Orders


Protective orders and peace orders are legal means of protecting yourself from violence, bodily harm, or the threat of bodily harm by another individual. Protective orders apply to blood relatives, sexual partners, married couples, and the parents of a child. Peace orders apply to anyone else–be it a stranger, acquaintance, neighbor, or colleague. Both orders, if violated, are punishable by criminal prosecution, fines, and incarceration.


In Maryland, protective orders are designed to safeguard families and couples against domestic violence and abuse, whether threatened or actual. Under the law, such abuse includes assault, sexual assault, stalking, and false imprisonment. Protective orders can be filed at any time following the act in question, and are valid for one year after the final order with option to extend an additional six months.


Peace orders share much of their structure with protective orders, but are designed to address abuse occurring outside of familial relationships. In addition to the abuses covered under protective orders, peace orders offer relief from trespassing and malicious destruction of property. Peace orders must be filed within thirty days of the events in question, and remain valid for a period of six months after the final order.


Depending on when a protective or peace order is first requested, the filing process can entail two or three distinct steps. If a protective or peace order is requested when the district court is closed, a district court commissioner may issue an interim order which offers a degree of protection until court is open and a temporary order hearing can proceed.

Filing for a protective or peace order during court hours bypasses the interim order and allows the petitioner (i.e., the person seeking protection) to present evidence of abuse to a judge immediately. If the temporary protective or peace order is approved, a copy of the order will be served to the accused party (the respondent) and a final order hearing scheduled to occur within the next seven days. Both petitioner and respondent should attend the final order hearing to present their evidence to the judge.


Here at the Palumbo Law Group, we’ve spent four decades helping Maryland residents obtain protective and peace orders and recover their sense of safety and wellbeing. We recognize that filing for protective and peace orders can be an emotionally turbulent process, and do our best to take care of all the details, allowing our clients to focus on returning to the normal flow of their lives.

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