No one should ever feel unsafe in their own home. Unfortunately, many people in Baltimore and throughout Maryland live this frightening reality. Victims of domestic violence often are unsure of where to turn, as part of domestic violence is making a person feel isolated and alone, however, with our Baltimore, Maryland domestic violence lawyer in your corner, you are not alone. Sheri Hoidra Law Office, LLC is on your side and is here to help you. Contact us today to learn more.
Domestic Violence in Maryland | Our Baltimore Lawyer Can Get You to Safety
If you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, our Baltimore, Maryland family law attorney can help you obtain a restraining order, formally known as a protective order in Maryland, against the abusive person to keep you safe.
That said, for an act of violence to be considered “domestic violence,” you must have a certain relationship with the offender. If any of the following apply to you and you were abused, you should be considered a victim of domestic violence.
- You are (or were) married
- You are (or were) dating
- You are related by marriage, blood, or adoption
- You have a child together
- You have had a sexual relationship with each other within the past year
Getting a Restraining Order in Maryland
To start, if you’re in immediate danger, the most important thing you can do is call the police and seek medical treatment at once. That said, aside from calling law enforcement, the best line of defense against an abusive individual is obtaining a restraining order against them. If you’re a domestic violence victim, our firm can help you file a Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence with your local courthouse or with a District Court Commissioner’s Office (only if courts are closed). Once we file the petition, we will attend a “temporary hearing” in court, where we will tell the judge what happened and request a temporary protective order.
Once you receive a temporary protective order, the other person must cease all abuse, threats, and harassment. The order also prohibits them from contacting you or going near you. If you are married, they will have to leave your home. The temporary order may also set a temporary child custody agreement, thereby offering your child the same protections from the alleged abuser. Temporary orders, however, are just that–they will only take effect for a few days or weeks. Shortly after you’re issued a temporary order, you will attend a final hearing, wherein the court will determine whether the protective order should be made permanent.
At your final hearing, you and your attorney will have to prove that you are a victim of an act of abuse by a domestic partner. Examples of abuse include assault, false imprisonment, stalking, rape, threats, revenge porn, or any other act that causes serious bodily harm. Our firm can use various types of evidence to prove the abuse occurred, such as medical documents, text messages, and more. As long as we can prove you are a victim of abuse, the court should grant you a final protective order.
The final protective order is effective for up to one year and will provide you with all the safeguards that came with your temporary order, as well as additional provisions. For example, a final restraining order can order the abuser to attend domestic violence counseling, that you receive emergency family maintenance or financial support, and grant you use and possession of a jointly owned vehicle (as long as your name is on the title).
You should note that it is a crime to violate a protective order. If the abusive individual violates any terms of your protective order, they will most likely face up to 90 days of incarceration and a potential $1,000 fine. They may also be held in contempt, which can result in a wide array of additional penalties.
Modifying Child Custody
The core of any child custody agreement is a child’s best interests. If a child’s parent poses a danger to the child, such as by exhibiting he or she is a violent individual, there is a very good chance the other parent can modify their custody agreement and get sole custody of the child. If you’re looking to get sole custody as a domestic violence victim, our Baltimore, Maryland domestic violence lawyer can help.
Extending or Enforcing a Final Protective Order in Maryland
For some people, one year is simply not enough to keep them safe. If you are looking to extend a protective order, you and your attorney can ask the court to do so. You will have to first complete and submit a Petition to Modify/Rescind/Extend. From there, the court will notify the Respondent (the abusive individual) and schedule a hearing within 30 days, wherein it will determine whether to grant the extension on the order.
Contact Our Baltimore, Maryland Family Law Firm
If you are a victim of domestic violence, know you’re not alone. Our firm is on your side, and we are here to put an end to it, once and for all. Your safety is our number one priority. Contact Sheri Hoidra Law Office, LLC today so we can take action.