If someone who is close to you in one way or another has committed abusive acts against you, it may be possible to get a protective order or a peace order against him or her. The court can order the other person to stay away from the place where you work, live or go to school. The order can stop abuse, harassment or threats from the other person by ordering him or her to have no contact with you.
The effects of protective orders and peace orders are similar. However, you can only file one or the other depending on your circumstances.
What are abusive acts?
According to Maryland Courts, you can file a protective order or a peace order against someone who has committed an act of abuse against you. Examples include stalking, false imprisonment and assault. An act that causes serious bodily harm or puts you in fear that it is imminent also qualifies as an abusive act.
When can you file a protective order?
You can file a protective order against someone who has committed or attempted rape or sexual assault against you in the past six months. If you are a vulnerable adult, you can file a protective order.
Otherwise, your eligibility for a protective order depends on your relationship to the other person. You can generally file protective orders against the following:
- Someone with whom you have had a sexual relationship in the past year
- Someone with whom you have a child
- A current or former spouse
- A relative by blood, adoption or marriage
When can you file a peace order?
A peace order protects you from people who have committed abusive acts against you but who do not fit into any of the categories listed above. Examples include strangers, neighbors and people you have dated but have not had a sexual relationship with.
While the court determines your eligibility, it may order interim and temporary orders that last a matter of days. If deemed appropriate, the court may issue final protective orders that remain in effect for up to a year.