What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
You can call the police and/or file a petition for contempt in court even if you think it is a minor violation. It could be a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order.1 A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court. If the police witness a violation or have probable cause to believe a violation occurred, the police are supposed to make an arrest. If the abuser is convicted, s/he can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $1,000, up to 90 days in jail, or both, for a first offense. For a second or subsequent offense, s/he can have to pay a fine of up to a $2,500, be sentenced to up to one year in jail, or both.2 If the police are not involved or do not arrest him/her or file a criminal complaint against him/her, you still may be able to file a contempt complaint against him/her in court.3
If the police do respond to your call, it might be a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 See MD Code, Fam. Law § 4-508
2 MD Code, Fam. Law § 4-509
3 MD Rule 15-206(b)(2)