Maryland Attorneys Protect Domestic Violence Victims
Helping you take control of your life
Under Maryland law, domestic violence occurs when one family member or intimate partner mistreats another one physically, verbally, sexually or psychologically. Many victims of domestic violence are so intimidated that they are afraid to seek legal help. At Haspel & McLeod, P.C., we understand your fear, and we do whatever it takes to keep you and your children safe.
How to stop the abuse
A protective order is the mechanism under Maryland law that protects a domestic abuse victim from further harm by the abuser. You are eligible for a protective order if you are:
Any victim of abuse who is not eligible for a protective order can seek a peace order instead. But if you are eligible for a protective order, you may not file for a peace order. The Rockville & Frederick family law attorneys at Haspel & McLeod, P.C. help victims of domestic violence secure legal protection swiftly.
What do I have to prove to get a protective order?
To obtain an interim or temporary protective order, the hurdle is low: There merely must be “reasonable grounds to believe” that you were abused. To get a final protective order, the judge must find by clear and convincing evidence that the abuse occurred.
An interim order lasts until a hearing is held on the temporary protective order or the end of the second business day that the court clerk’s office is open after the interim order was issued, whichever is sooner. Temporary protective orders usually last no longer than seven days, but a judge can extend a temporary protective order up to six months. Final orders last up to a year, and can be extended for another six months. A permanent protective order stays in effect until the victim requests that it be terminated.
What does a protective order actually do?
A range of remedies are available under a temporary protective order, including:
- Order the abuser to stop abusing you
- Order the abuser to stay away from you and to not try to contact you
- Order the abuser to stay out of your house.
- Order the abuser to leave the home where the two of you live
- Order that you be given temporary custody of any children you have with the abuser
A final protective order offers all of the remedies of a temporary order, plus the following:
What happens if the abuser violates a protective order?
If your abuser violates the terms of a protective order, you can file a complaint with the court. If the abuser violates the “stay away” requirements of the order, you can file a criminal charge. The maximum penalties for a first violation of a protective order are a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. For a subsequent offense, the maximum penalties are a $2,500 fine and a year in prison.
If the abuser violates “stay away” portion of the order, the police can arrest him or her without a warrant. To enforce a temporary child custody provision of a final protective order, the court can order police to use “all reasonable and necessary force” to enforce the order.
Contact us if you have been the victim of domestic violence
The family law attorneys at Haspel & McLeod, P.C., do whatever it takes to keep you and your children safe from domestic violence. Call us at 301-424-8841, or contact us online today. Our Maryland attorneys represent individuals and families throughout Montgomery, Frederick and Howard counties. Our offices are in Rockville and Frederick.