Maryland Peace Order Violations | Criminal Charges in Maryland
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:
- Rape or sexual offense
- False Imprisonment
- 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.