How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Maryland

By Melissa Cole
a protective or peace order, Maryland

gavel image by Cora Reed from

In the state of Maryland, what is commonly known as a “restraining order” is referred to as a peace or protective order. A protective order is a legal provision designated by the courts to protect one party from inflicting physical harm or injury or posing threats of harm to another. While women are usually thought of as victims of domestic violence and men are considered the aggressors, it is important to know that the inverse scenario is a possibility as well. You can file a petition to obtain a peace or protective order in a Maryland state District Court or Circuit Court.

Obtain the necessary application forms for a protective or peace order. Determine whether a protective order or a peace order is right for your case. A protective order generally applies to domestic relationships and partnerships, while a peace order applies to other relationships--i.e. neighbors, colleagues, strangers. Find the required forms on the Maryland Judiciary website among the Family Law forms or get them in the clerk’s offices in any Maryland District Court or Circuit Court. Note that there are two forms: a Petition Protection Form (for domestic abuse, child abuse, vulnerable adult abuse--a peace order) and a Petition for Permanent Protection from Domestic Violence (a protective order). Complete the form that is most appropriate, depending upon whom you are seeking protection from. Fill out a supplementary Addendum form to give the court additional details about the respondent, or the person who you are filing the complaint against.

Determine if you have enough information to prove that a protective or peace order is needed. Criminal harassment, criminal trespassing, and malicious destruction of property are not grounds for protective orders, and would only be covered by a peace order.

File your petition for a protection or peace order with a clerk at your local District Court or Circuit. Attend a hearing shortly after your petition is filed. Answer questions about your safety before a judge--a temporary order will be granted if the judge finds necessary to do so, and will go into affect once the respondent has been served by a court officer.

Attend a final hearing (which will be scheduled by the court to happen within seven days of your initial petition filing). The judge will determine that the respondent has indeed committed the alleged acts against the petition and grant the protection or peace order, or alternatively, the respondent could consent to the final order, in lieu of trial. A protective or peace order will be issued.

About the Author

Melissa Cole began writing as a local newspaper reporter in 2008. Her work also appears on various websites. Cole is a public-television producer and media professional, as well as a vegan and former varsity track-and-field MVP and team captain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and politics from New York University.

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