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Is a peace order the same as a protective order in Maryland?

Many Maryland residents know that a protective order is a document that is issued in cases of domestic violence. However, they may be unaware that there is another document known as a peace order that can also be issued in domestic violence cases in Maryland. So what is the difference between these two types of domestic violence orders?

The difference in the two documents lies in the type of relationship that the individuals involved in the order had. A protective order is a civil document issued by a judge that orders one person to stop any abusive behavior toward another person. In order to request a protective disorder, the requestor must either be a current or former spouse of the suspected abuser or he or she must have been in a relationship for at least three months in the past year. The document can also be sought if the individuals are related either by blood, adoption or marriage or are parents of a child or if the individuals were involved in a parent-child or stepparent-child relationship for at least three months in the past year.

Like a protective order, a peace order is issued by a judge and instructs one person to stop any abusive behavior. However, a peace order is different because the relationship between the individuals is not a factor in the order. This means that the order can be issued against someone who has been dating the requestor as well as against a neighbor, stranger or any other individual who the requestor believes has been harmful or abusive. The important point to remember about these documents is if a person is eligible to file for a protective order then they are not eligible to file for a peace order and if they can file for a peace order they cannot file for a protective order.

Domestic violence is an extremely serious matter for anyone involved in either side of this issue. Any Maryland resident who is facing domestic violence charges may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney in order to fully understand the legal options that are available to them.

Source: mdcourts.gov, "Domestic violence", Accessed Aug. 16, 2015

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