How to file for a Peace or Protective Order
Peace Order or Protective Order... which one?
Peace and protective orders are civil orders issued by a judge to prevent one person from committing certain acts against others. The personal relationship between the "respondent" (person alleged to commit the prohibited act) and the victim (person to be protected) determines which kind of petition would be filed. Protective orders generally apply to people in domestic relationships. Peace orders apply to other relationships (dating, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers). You cannot qualify for both; you must choose the one for which you would qualify. If you are filing the petition for yourself, do any of these apply to you?
If you are filing the petition for a child or an adult who cannot provide for his or her own daily needs (a vulnerable adult), do either of these apply to you?
- I am the current or former spouse of the respondent
- I have lived in an intimate relationship with the respondent for at least 90 days during the past year
- I am related to the respondent by blood, marriage, or adoption
- I am the parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of the respondent, and I have resided with the respondent for 90 days during the past year
- I have a child with the respondent
If you checked any boxes above, you would file for a protective order. If you did not, you would file for a peace order.
- I am related to the minor child or vulnerable adult by blood, marriage or adoption.
- I reside in the same house with the minor child or vulnerable adult.
What do you have to prove?
Once you determine the type of order for which you may qualify, you then must prove that one of the following acts occurred. Acts marked with an asterisk (*) are covered only by peace orders and not by protective orders.
assault in any degree
rape or sexual offense
|attempted rape or sexual offense
|criminal harassment *
||criminal stalking *
|criminal trespassing *
||malicious destruction of property
|an act that caused serious bodily harm
||an act that placed the petitioner in fear of imminent bodily harm
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How to apply for an Order
Step 1: Complete the correct petition
The petitions (forms) for protective orders can be obtained from any Circuit or District
Court clerk or District Court commissioner. Petitions for peace orders must be obtained from a District Court clerk or commissioner. All forms are available at: www.courts.state.md.us
Step 2: File the petition
During normal business hours, file the petition with a Circuit or District court clerk (District Court for peace orders). Once the petition is filed, you will then go to a courtroom to await a hearing.
When courts are closed, District Court commissioners may issue Interim Peace and Protective Orders to last until a judge holds a temporary hearing the following court day. An interim order goes into effect once a law enforcement officer serves the respondent.
Step 3: Appear for a temporary hearing
When you appear before a judge, you will be required to answer questions under oath. If the judge finds reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent committed the acts alleged in the petition against you, (and in the case of a peace order, is likely to do so again) a temporary order is granted. The order goes into effect once a law enforcement officer serves the respondent and generally lasts for seven days unless extended by a judge.
Step 4: Appear for a final hearing
A final hearing is usually scheduled within seven days after the order is served. At the hearing, both parties may present evidence. However, if the respondent does not attend, the judge may still grant a final order if:
A protective order may last up to one year, with a possible six-month extension; a peace order may last up to six months.
- At the trial the judge finds clear and convincing evidence that the respondent committed the alleged act against the petitioner, as defined under the law, (and in the case of a peace order, is likely to do so again);
- Instead of a trial, the respondent consents to the entry of a final order.
What will the Order do?
Peace and protective orders are intended to provide protection for the petitioner and other individuals named in the order. The respondent may be ordered to:
A protective order may also:
- stop threatening or committing abuse
- stay away from the petitioner’s home, place of employment or school
- have no contact with the petitioner or others
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- award temporary use and possession of the home to the petitioner
- award temporary custody of children to the petitioner
- award temporary financial support
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where do I file?
A petition for a peace order may be filed only in District Court. A petition for a protective order may be filed in District Court or in a circuit court. If the clerk’s office is open, you must file with the clerk. If the clerk’s office is closed, file with a District Court commissioner. Contact Information:
Prince George's County District Court Locations
Hours of Operation - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except legal Holidays
Upper Marlboro Civil Clerks Office
14735 Main Street, Suite 168B
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Hyattsville Civil Clerks Office
4990 Rhode Island Avenue, Room 200A
Hyattsville, MD 20872
| Link: http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/directories/courtmap.html#princegeorges
4990 Rhode Island Avenue, Suite 100
Hyattsville, MD 20781-2008
Upper Marlboro Regional Booking Facility
13400 Dille Road
Upper Marlboro 20772
(301) 952-5078, 79
(301) 952-3414 (Recording)
(301) 780-8124 (Fax)
Regional Booking Facility (Eastover)
5135 Indian Head Highway
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
(301) 749-5077 (Recording)
(301) 749-5039 (Fax)
Clerk of the Circuit Court
14735 Main Street, Suite 080M
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Monday through Friday
| Link: www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/JudicialBranch/Clerk/
Is there a deadline for filing?
A petition for a peace order must be filed within 30 days of the act described within the petition. There is no specified time frame for filing a protective order.
Can criminal charges also be filed?
Peace and protective orders are civil orders, and are not criminal charges. If you wish to file for criminal charges, see a District Court commissioner or the State's Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit (301) 952-3555 www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/Statesattorney/
How will orders be served?
The Office of the Sheriff's Domestic Violence Unit is responsible for the service of domestic violence warrants, peace and protective orders. The unit provides service of these orders 24 hours a day seven days a week. To contact the unit call (301) 883-7005 during normal business hours or (301) 883-6987 after hours and on weekends. www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/JudicialBranch/Sheriff/
What happens if an order is violated?
Violation of an order may result in a finding of contempt, mandatory arrest, criminal prosecution, imprisonment, or fine.
Do I need a lawyer?
An attorney may be helpful in advising you about your case and representing you in court. However, you are not required to have an attorney.
House Of Ruth Maryland does provide free legal services to victims of domestic violence. Please call our 24 Hour Hotline for more information 410-8897884 (RUTH).
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