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Maryland Protective Orders Laws

If you're the victim of domestic violence or stalking, it's wise to get a protective order. Also known as an order of protection or a restraining order, it will help you protect yourself against your abuser.

Continue reading to learn more about protective orders and the laws on them in Maryland.

Protective Orders and Related Laws

A protective order is a court document that prohibits the person named in the order from getting within a certain distance of the person seeking the order. It can also prohibit an abuser from engaging in other activities, as well. If the named person violates the order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime. They help victims of domestic violence and stalking from further abuse.

You can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section for more articles and resources on this topic.

Code Section

Family Law §4-501, et seq.

Activity Addressed by Order

Orders of protection address a variety of activities. The following are examples of activities that orders address:

  • Prohibiting the abuser from making contact with their victim
  • Excluding the abuser from a dwelling
  • Barring the abuser from your place of work or your children's school
  • Awarding temporary custody
  • Ordering the abuser to attend therapy
  • Establishing or maintaining visitation rights

Duration of Order

Temporary orders may be issued for a period of seven days. These temporary orders may be extended for up to a maximum of six months.

Generally speaking, beyond those that are temporary, orders may be issued for a period of one year. Under some circumstances, orders may last for a duration of two years. The orders can be permanent if the person has been convicted of -- and served time for -- the abuse.

Penalty for a Violation of Order

The penalties for violating an order are:

  • Contempt,
  • Criminal prosecution,
  • Imprisonment, and/or
  • A fine

If a person violates certain clauses within the code section, the penalty will be a misdemeanor. For the misdemeanor, the person will face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail.

Who May Apply for Order

The following are examples of people eligible for orders of protection:

  • An abuser's current or former partner(s) or spouse
  • Someone that lives with an abuser
  • A person related to the abuser by "blood, marriage, or adoption," the statute reads
  • The parent(s), stepparent(s), or stepchild(ren) of any of people that already have been listed or of the abuser
  • Someone that shares children with the abuser
  • A person in a dating or sexual relationship with the abuser
  • A person alleging that the abuser committed or attempted to commit a sexual offense, such as rape, against them

Can Fees Be Waived?

There are no fees for the person filing for an order of protection.

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

A copy of the order is sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Civil Liability for Violation of Order


Maryland takes domestic violence very seriously. Survivors of domestic abuse and those who feel threatened can use protection orders to shield themselves from further harassment and abuse. Maryland also has emergency protection orders. These can be put in place quickly, so the threatened person has more time to request a more permanent order. Additionally, federal protection order law requires states to honor and enforce valid orders issued by other states.

Maryland Protective Orders and Related Laws: Other Resources

If you or someone you love needs assistance with a protective order in Maryland, you can continue your research by clicking on the links below:

Learn More from an Attorney about Protective Orders

If you're the victim of domestic violence or stalking, you should consider getting an order of protection. If you're the person named in an order of protection, violating a protective order can have various negative impacts on your life. Regardless of whether you are petitioning for an order or you are the subject of one, you'll want to know more about Maryland protective orders and the related laws. Consider speaking with a qualified criminal defense attorney or domestic violence lawyer in Maryland.

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