Peace Orders

The Peace Order is a form of legal protection for anyone who is experiencing problems with an individual, including someone in a dating relationship, a neighbor, a stranger, or anyone else.  The Peace Order enables an individual (petitioner) who wishes to be left alone to ask the Court for an order for the other person (respondent) to stay away and refrain from any contact.  A violation of the order will result in arrest.

Am I eligible for relief?

Review who is eligible for a protective order.  If you are not eligible under the Protective Order law, you are eligible under the Peace Order law.  You cannot file a peace order if you are eligible for a protective order (e.g., married, living together, or if you have a child in common).

What must occur in order for me to file?

  • An act that causes you serious bodily harm
  • An act that places you in fear of imminent bodily harm
  • Assault in any degree
  • Rape or sexual offense
  • False imprisonment
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Trespassing
  • Malicious destruction of property

Where do I file for a Peace Order?

The District Court of Maryland.  When the courts are closed, District Court Commissioners can now issue Interim Peace Orders.  The victim should go to the office of any on-duty Commissioner or telephone an on-call Commissioner.  Offices and telephone numbers of Commissioners are listed on the Court's website.

Is there a time limit to file?

Yes.  You have thirty (30) days after the act occurs to file a petition with the court.

Do I have to take an oath when filing for an order?

Yes.  There is a misdemeanor penalty for knowingly providing false information.

Do I file for a temporary Peace Order first?

Yes.  The person requesting the Order (petitioner) is usually the only party at this stage.  At this phase, the judge must find reasonable evidence that an incident occurred between the two parties. The judge must also find it likely that a similar incident will occur in the future.  Similar to the Protective Order, the Peace Order is not effective until the person who the order is against (respondent) has been served.  A hearing date for the second hearing will be set when the Interim or Temporary Order is granted.

How long is the temporary Peace Order?

A hearing for a Final Peace Order is set for seven (7) days from when you get the temporary peace order. Law enforcement will seek to serve the respondent. If they are not successful, a new hearing date will have to be scheduled, usually seven (7) days after the original hearing on the final peace order was scheduled.

How do I get a Final Peace Order?

The Peace Order hearing gives both parties the opportunity to be heard. The petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent committed the alleged act and is likely to commit future acts against the petitioner. A Peace Order can be granted for up to 6 months. The court can also grant other temporary relief (e.g. counseling or the respondent to pay filing fees and costs). Mutual Peace Orders can be granted if both parties have filed for one and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that each party has committed, and is likely to commit in the future, an act of abuse as described in the statute.

  • Peace Orders may be appealed to the Circuit Court.
  • If the respondent violates the Order, the petitioner can file contempt against the respondent.
  • If the respondent violates the stay away portion of the peace order, a law enforcement officer can arrest him/her without a warrant.
  • A Peace Order can be modified or rescinded by the court that issued the Order.
  • A Peace Order may be extended up to 6 months for good cause.

How long does a Final Peace Order last?

Six months, with the possibility of extending the Order for up to six (6) more months, after hearing and good cause shown. The form to request an extension is available at the District Court and must be filed in enough time to have the hearing before the Final Peace Order expires.

Source: 

Updated by Laure Ruth
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”