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Can the public see protective order case records in Maryland?

Being accused of domestic violence in Maryland can be very damaging to a person's reputation, even if such accusations are not true. Unfortunately, the court of public opinion often jumps to conclusions, assuming that a person against who a protective order was sought must have done something harmful to another person. This may make a person who is facing having a protective order issued against them wonder if it is possible to limit the access others have to their case record.

In fact, it is possible for the court to limit the access the public has to an individual's protective order case record if the case was dismissed, and four other conditions are met. The first condition is that the person has not been deemed to be guilty of any illegal wrongdoing. In addition, there cannot be a pending protective order against the person in an action involving the same parties.

Similarly, there cannot be any criminal charges against the person that are pending and that involve the same parties. Finally, there must not have been any other protective order issued against the person in a case involving the petitioner.

In order to limit the public's access to one's case record, there are certain forms that must be filed. Copies of the filed forms must be sent to other parties involved in the case. After that, a hearing will take place and the court will issue a decision.

As this shows, while it is possible to keep the public from gaining access to one's records regarding a protective order under certain circumstances, it is not automatic. Therefore, it is important that those who are facing having a protective order issued against them seek the help of a criminal defense attorney, so they can be represented in any legal proceedings against them.

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