Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Domestic Violence and Final Protective Orders
Victims of domestic violence may be entitled to a protective order if they have been "abused," as defined by statute. Under Maryland law, abuse includes acts of assault; rape, attempted rape or some other sexual offense; stalking; false imprisonment, or any act that puts an individual either in fear of serious bodily injury or causes serious harm. Depending on the specific situation, a Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will advise domestic violence victims to obtain protective orders if they follow the proper steps. One type of protective order that will provide a victim with long-term protection is known as a "final protective order."
What Do You Need to Do to Obtain a Final Protective Order?
In order for a domestic violence victim to obtain a final protective order, he or she must first participate in a hearing with the abuser. If the abuser does not appear at the hearing after being properly served with a temporary protective order, the victim should request a default order of protection be entered against the individual.
If both parties appear for the hearing, each individual will have an opportunity to tell the judge what happened. Your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will tell you that you, as the victim, bear the burden of proof to show that it is more likely than not that the abuse did, in fact, take place and you are entitled to relief.
What Can the Judge Order?
If a judge determines that abuse did take place, he or she might choose to order a number of things for a period up to one year. For example, the judge might order the abuser to stay away from the victim, which includes him or her staying away from the victim's home and/or place of business. If the abuser and victim were married and living together when the abuse occurred, the judge may order the abuser to leave the marital home.
The judge might also see fit to grant the victim temporary custody of any children shared with the abuser and order the abuser pay child support. An abuser might also be ordered to surrender all firearms and participate in a domestic violence counseling program.
Final protective orders remain in effect for the length of time detailed in the order, up to one year. Victims should also be aware the judge can decide to issue a mutual final protective order if he or she finds that both individuals were the aggressors and neither of them acted in self defense.
Once an order has been made, if the abuser violates the order by contacting or harassing the victim, the victim is strongly urged to dial 911 right away. If the abuser disobeys the order, he or she can be found guilty of a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by stiff fines or a jail term of up to 90 days.
Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation
Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.