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Maryland Peace Order Violations | Criminal Charges in Maryland

Maryland Peace Order Violations Explained by a Defense Attorney

Our Skilled Maryland Defense Lawyers Explain When Temporary Orders and Peace Orders Can Be Issued

A peace order is a close counterpart of a protective order. However, unlike a protective order, where a complainant must be related to the respondent, to get a peace order there does not need to be any relationship.

A peace order is essentially a court order telling one person to stay away from another person. If the respondent violates the peace order and initiates contact with the complainant it can be a criminal offense. Often the complainant will go to the District Court Commissioner’s Office to obtain criminal charges against the respondent for such a violation.

As with a protective order, the peace order starts and an ex parte communication between a complainant and a judge. The complainant fills out a form, and then testifies briefly about the basis for the peace order. Unlike a protective order, the act the complainant complains about must have occurred within the last 30 days before the filing of the request for peace order. A judge can grant a peace order for many reasons, including:

  • Assault
  • Rape or sexual offense
  • False Imprisonment
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Trespass
  • Malicious destruction of property

After a judge decides there is “reasonable grounds” to issue the Temporary Order, the respondent will be served with a copy of the Temporary Order and informed when and where to appear for the final hearing. At the final hearing, both sides have a chance to bring lawyers. The complainant has the burden to prove that something happened within the last 30 days to entitle them to get a peace order.

The complainant must prove beyond clear and convincing evidence that something happened, and that something is likely to happen again in the future. The respondent has a chance to cross-examine the complainant’s witnesses and to bring witnesses of their own, including testifying themselves.

A peace order can only be issued for up to six months and basically tells one person to stay away from another person. It is essentially a restraining order. The purpose is to keep people who don’t like each other and have had trouble with each other away from each other so no trouble happens again.

If you would like to know more about peace orders and you are in the Baltimore or Columbia, Maryland area, please contact the lawyers at Jimeno & Gray, P.A., for more information.