Prince George’s County Protection Order Lawyer
Recovering from a protection order is a challenging task for anyone. While this is a civil matter, that does not preclude the state from using your actions in the heat of a moment against you in court. Fortunately, there are experienced attorneys who could help your case by building a defense and helping you take proactive measures. A Prince George’s County protection order lawyer could help you prepare for court and fight for a more favorable courtroom outcome.
Civil Protection Orders Explained
When attorneys talk about protective orders, they pair, peace and protective orders. The reason is that they are similar yet distinctly different and based purely on the relationship of individuals involved. Essentially, they are more commonly referred to as stay-away or ex parte orders. With regards to a peace order, these typically involve someone who is talking about a neighbor, a coworker, someone an individual does not know that well, and to whom they have no relationship. These orders typically last for six months.
What changes it to the protective order’s side is the term “person eligible for relief” (PERF). That individual would be a family member, blood relative, son, daughter, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or someone an alleged offender has had some form of relationship with where they resided together or with whom they had a sexual relationship. That would change it from a peace order to a protective order. These protective orders often last for 12 months.
Each is something that could be extended by petition to the court, but these are civil petitions and they are exceptionally statute-laden. If someone goes in and asks for that on an interim basis because it is the weekend, the first business day, they would instead have to appeal for what is called a temporary order. If that is issued, it is generally reset seven days out.
Peace or protective, the order is delivered by a sheriff, and that individual would appear on the next court date and then seven days later. That is when there would be a final hearing.
If they are unable to serve the alleged offender, the court would reset the time table another seven days and try again starting from that day. The court could continue to reset the time table and sometimes spread it further than 7 days, sometimes going as far as 30, to see if they could serve that missing person. The goal is to serve them so they stay away from the person who filed the claim, either for themselves or on the behalf of another. The individual is asking literally for another person to stay away from them for a number of reasons. These reasons could include threatening conduct, the nature of statements made by the person asked to separate, fear for safety, fear of imminent bodily harm, harassment, stalking, or abuse.
On the side of caution, these are, again, civil matters, but they are simply what is called the preponderance of evidence, which is a low standard. Judges may err on the side of caution saying that an alleged victim’s story is reasonable enough and warrants protection. This could marr an alleged offender’s history. These orders are generally found in domestic matters involving police officers and instances where people go to a court and request this motion from a judge.
A person has to be careful. Even though this is a civil realm, if the individual has criminal charges pending, they may not want to say a single thing at a peace or protective order hearing. If they do, a transcript could be called upon later in a criminal investigation and used against a defendant.
Not only would the individual lose their case but would be in contempt of court if they were found to have lied based on that transcript. If they perjure themselves, they could pay further penalties because of that.
Additionally, if they violate that peace or protective order, an alleged offender could be brought into court for a contempt hearing on the civil side, and the court could also charge the individual criminally with the violation. Peace and protective orders are just as important as an actual criminal charge.
Serving a Protective Order
It is highly unusual for someone to serve their own peace or protective order. In fact, it makes no sense at all because if an individual is asking to be protected from someone, in no way, shape or form should they ever try to serve that person themselves. They have the sheriff do it and properly do it, especially if it is a protective order because that may also include the person giving up any firearms due to the fact that the individual has now been served. There is really no one better to turn them over to than the police to ensure that they have complied with the order itself, and to not let them come into the individual’s home and charge them with an illegal possession of a firearm due to the fact that they are a disqualified person even if it is temporary.
How a Civil Protection Could be Violated
There is a number of ways to violate a civil protection order. First of all, if it is a no-contact order, there should be no contact. If it is a no-unlawful contact, then contact is limited, but it still should be something that is taken seriously. An individual has got to understand that the purpose of the order is to cut all contact between the parties involved. If someone cannot do that, if they cannot cut off that contact, they are going to violate the order.
That means they should not text, they should not email, they should not G-chat, they should not Facebook, they should not Snapchat and use whatever other app is out there, nothing. They should not look them up on Instagram or Twitter. It means absolutely zero contact whatsoever, any violation of that could be charged against them and result in time spent in jail.
Why Having an Attorney Present at a Civil Protection Hearing Is Important
An individual has to understand their rights, which is where a Prince George’s County protection order lawyer could help. While everyone has the right to testify, it may not be in the person’s best interests to do so. In fact, sometimes it may be in their best interests to simply consent because if they cannot win the hearing, they still want to be able to at least have the ability to shield it down the line. If they simply consent to the order being put in place, they retain the right to shield it. Part of it is just being smart enough to know what to say and what not to say.
How a Civil Protection Order Could Affect a Person’s Criminal Record
Again, it is a civil order and recognizing that and understanding that is important. However, it could come up on a background check, and it does come up quite regularly where these companies go back or are hired to do these background checks, and it goes more in-depth than just the criminal charges. They may look back and find new traffic charges, any public record, and these charges are part of the public record. If they appear there, again, the individual is seen as a threat to people around them, and simply by the individual’s conduct, they may not want to rent to or hire that person.
Impacts a Civil Protection Order Has on Employment
It may have zero impact on the individual’s employment. Some employers do not care. Some employers recognize that these issues are for that person to address, however, it could impact future employment. If an individual has an employment position that needs a background check or a security clearance, they may find issues. It could revoke clearances because of the nature of the charge. It goes to the trustworthiness of an individual, the integrity of that individual. That is what is suggested from an order needing a stay-away, that they may not be someone who could be trusted around others. Hiring a criminal attorney could be an individual’s best choice for contesting these charges.
Civil Protection Orders and Temporary Protection Orders
The temporary is simply put in place by a judge so that someone could be served and put on notice that there is a proceeding, and in that proceeding, they then have the right to come to court and defend themselves. The temporary is only good for a limited, short window of time. A person has seven days or slightly more so that they may properly be served. A final order is good for the full term, and although it may be a maximum of one year or six months, individuals may go back at a later time and ask the order to be rescinded if the parties have reconciled. To help facilitate any rescinded orders, people should enlist the services of a Prince George’s County protection order lawyer.
Contact a Legal Representative Today
In the heat of the moment, level-headed actions are hard to think through and act upon. However, this reality does not have much merit in the court of law. That said, mistakes happen. An attorney could help you present your best self in court.
Reach out to a Prince George’s County protection order lawyer today to begin addressing the impact a charge and protection order could have on your future and how to fight it.