Peace orders and protective orders, sometimes known as restraining orders, are used to protect one individual from another. When a final peace or protective order is filed against you, the damaging effects can be devastating to not only your personal reputation but also to your professional reputation.
Peace and protective orders can be interim, temporary, or a final order, each differing with regard to the length of time for which they may be enforced. The best time to defend against a peace or protective order is before a final order has been issued.
When someone files a petition for a peace order or a protective order against you, they are often asserting that a crime has been committed and these allegations may lead to a criminal charge. Thus, you must be wary against subsequent criminal charges and a warrant for arrest. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in uncovering any charges or warrants against you and, if needed, defend you against those charges.
Because a peace or protective order is not a criminal charge, expungement of such a record is not available. Thus, anyone with a computer or smart phone can search for you under the Maryland Judiciary Case Search to discover any orders that were placed against you. This information is often used by potential employers and can easily cost you a job opportunity. Despite not being able to have this expunged, an option that is available is to have the order shielded. Shielding is available for those who have a peace or protective order denied or dismissed at the interim, temporary, or final order stage. If you are granted shielding, the information regarding your peace or protective order will be removed from the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.
What you may not realize is that peace orders and protective orders are very easy to break, even accidentally, because of their broad scope. Because of this, it is essential for those who have peace and protective orders against them to be aware of the potential consequences that they may face in violating a peace or protective order:
1) Violation of a Peace Order: Misdemeanor, up to 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine for a first offense.
2) Violation of a Protective Order, First Offense: Misdemeanor, up to 90 days in jail and or $1,000 fine.
3) Violation of a Protective Order, Second or Subsequent Offense: Misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, and/or $2,500 fine.