En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Maryland

UPDATED June 21, 2017

View by Section

A peace order is similar to a domestic violence protective order in that they both require you to be a victim of abuse and they both offer you similar forms of protection from the abuser.  However, if your relationship to the abuser falls under the category for a domestic violence protective order, you would not be eligible for a peace order.

Basic information

back to topWhat acts of abuse would qualify me for a peace order?

You can file for a peace order if one or more of the following acts has happened within 30 days before you file for the order:

Note: You can file in Maryland if one of the above acts happened in Maryland or if you live in Maryland but the act(s) happened in another state.**

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1503(a)(1)
* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1503(a)(2)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topAm I eligible for a peace order?

Peace orders are meant to protect people who do not qualify for a domestic violence protective order.  If you are eligible to file for a domestic violence protective order, you are not eligible for a peace order.*  (To see if you would qualify for domestic violence protective order, go to Who can get a protective order?)

Here are a few examples of relationships that may qualify you for a peace order:

  • a boyfriend/ girlfriend who you do not have a child in common with and with whom you do not live;
  • a neighbor;
  • a co-worker;
  • an acquaintance;
  • a stranger;
  • a parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of you or the abuser with whom you do not currently live and with whom you have not lived for 90 days or more within 1 year before the filing of the petition.*1

Note: The abuser must be 18 years or older at the time of the abuse for you to be able to apply for a peace order against him/her.*2

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1502(b)(1)
*1 “Peace and Protective Orders” Brochure," MD Judiciary
*2 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1502(b)(2)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat types of peace orders are there? How long do they last?

There are three types of peace orders.  Each can be issued if the judge believes that you have been abused by the person you are filing against and that the abuser is likely to abuse you again in the future.*

Interim peace orders. If you wish to file for a peace order but the district court clerk’s office is closed, you can file for an interim order by going to the nearest District Court commissioner.*1  The interim peace order lasts until:

  • a judge holds a temporary peace order hearing (the first or second day on which a District Court judge is working after the order is issued); or
  • the end of the second business day that the court clerk’s office is open after the order is issued, whichever comes sooner.*2  

Note: Even if you are denied an interim peace order, you can still apply for a temporary or final peace order.*3

Temporary peace orders. When you go to court during normal court hours to file for a final peace order, you can ask for a temporary peace order, which can be issued the same day without the abuser present (ex parte).*4  The order is effective when it is served.*5  The temporary order is in effect for up to 7 days after service of the order. (If the court is closed on the day on which the temporary peace order is due to expire, it is effective until the second day on which the court is open, by which time the court should hold a final peace order hearing.)  However, the judge may extend the temporary order to allow for service of the order or for another good reason, but not to more than 30 days.*6   Note: If the respondent is at the hearing, the judge may go ahead and hold a hearing for a final peace order instead of a temporary one if you and the respondent agree to this.*7

Final peace orders. The respondent has the opportunity to be present at the final peace order hearing to object to the order - and each of you can present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc., to prove your case.  The order can last for up to 6 months but can be extended.*8  See Can I modify, cancel or extend my peace order? for more information.

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. §§ 3-1503.1(b); 3-1504(a)(1); 3-1505(c)(1)(ii)
*1 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1503.1(a); “Peace and Protective Orders” Brochure, MD Judiciary
*2 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1503.1(g), (d)(1)(ii)
*3 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1503.1(h)
*4 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1504(a)(1)
*5 See generally MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1504(b); “Peace and Protective Orders” Brochure, MD Judiciary
*6 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1504(c)
*7 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1504(d)
*8 MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. §§ 3-1505(a),(c)(1)(ii),(f); 3-1506(a)(2)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topHow can a peace order help me?

Interim, temporary and final peace orders can order the respondent to:

  • stop committing or threatening to commit an act of abuse against you;
  • stop contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing you; and
  • stay away from your home, place of employment, school, or temporary residence.*

Additionally, only a final peace order can order:

  • you or the respondent to participate in professionally supervised counseling ;
  • you and the respondent to go to mediation if you both agree to it; and
  • you or the respondent to pay the filing fees and costs of the proceeding.**

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. §§ 3-1503.1(c)(2), 3-1504(a)(2), 3-1505(d)(1)
** MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1505(d)(1)

 

Did you find this information helpful?

After the hearing

back to topIf I file for a peace order, do I still have the right to report the incident to the police?

Yes.  If you file for a peace order, you are still allowed to pursue other legal options, including going to the police.*

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1502(a)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topCan I modify, cancel or extend my peace order?

It may be possible to modify (change) or rescind (cancel) a peace order before the order expires by filing in court, giving notice to the person who obtained the order and the abuser, and after holding a hearing.* 

In addition, peace orders can be extended for "good cause."  A judge can extend the term of the peace order for 6 months after holding a hearing where both the petitioner and respondent have the right to be present.  The judge is supposed to hold a hearing on your motion to extend the order within 30 days after the motion is filed.  If the order is set to expire within those 30 days, the judge must extend it until the hearing.*

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1506(a)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat is the penalty for violating a peace order?

If the abuser violates a peace order, s/he can be arrested.*  If convicted, s/he could be guilty of a misdemeanor and, for a first offense, can be fined for up to $1,000, or put in prison for up to 90 days, or both.  For a second offense (or a third, fourth, etc.), s/he could be guilty of a fine of up to $2,500, put in prison for up to 1 year, or both.**

* MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1508(c)
** MD Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1508(a)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top