Maryland’s Domestic Violence Statute: What You Can Do Right Now

Maryland’s Domestic Violence Statute: What You Can Do Right Now
It is the middle of the night. I have just gotten beaten up by my spouse in Maryland. I live in Howard County. Or Montgomery County. Or Anne Arundel. Baltimore. Carroll. Anywhere. The police just came and left, without arresting my spouse. The police told me I could file for an ex parte to have my spouse removed from the house.

I am numb. I have no one to speak to. I feel all alone.
What can I do? What should I do?
Let’s talk about what you can do. Here is what you can do right now.

  1. Get in your car or otherwise find transportation right now.
  2. Get away from your abuser right now.
  3. Go to the district court nearest to you or anywhere else where there is a Commissioner’s office. Whenever the courts are closed, the commissioner can grant a very very temporary domestic violence protective order. The commissioner’s office will walk you through the petition.
  4. What do you need to say in your petition? You need to allege either actual violence or fear of violence that puts you in fear of being imminently harmed. Don’t be overly fair. Lay it out precisely as it happened.
  5. Assuming you get the initial temporary protective order, law enforcement will seek to execute it immediately and have the alleged abuser immediately removed from the home.
  6. THE VERY NEXT BUSINESS DAY, YOU MUST RETURN TO THE COURT. You have to seek for it to be extended for up to one week. If you do not show up, the initial temporary protective order will be dismissed. Of course, if you received the initial protective order from the Court, not the Commissioner, it will be good for the week.
  7. Get to an attorney as quickly as possible. Did you know that judges informally believe that up to 90% of all protective order actions do not involve an attorney? Most protective order hearings cause judges to try to figure it out for themselves. Having an attorney is critical to getting your case heard, especially with rules of procedure and rules regarding the proper evidence to use in your case. If someone witnessed the abuse, they should be subpoenaed to attend. Need phone records to show that the temporary or interim orders have been violated? They also need to be subpoenaed. The same is true with other documents.
  8. When you come to court a week later, you will be held to the standard of an attorney, whether you have one with you or not.
  9. In Howard County and elsewhere throughout Maryland, divorce and family law attorneys tend to represent clients in protective order proceedings. We are also the best resource for you to understand the next several steps you may take, as well as all of your options.
  10. Keep your protective order with you at all times. Watch yourself. Protect your children.

At SIEGELLAW, we represent clients at all stages of protective order hearings at all times.

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