What is required to get a protective order approved?

Before requesting that a protective order be placed on an abuser, Maryland residents may want to know what is required to get the order approved. Indeed, having a better understanding of the laws that govern protective orders can help those who need protection prepare their requests so they will be more likely to get them approved.

First, a “qualifying relationship” must exist between the victim and the abuser for a restraining order to be approved. Qualifying relationships include spouses, ex-spouses, living partners, and roommates. Ex-lovers, parents, children and grandparents also qualify as qualifying relationships. However, more distant relatives who do not share a living space with the victim, such as cousins, do not qualify.

Next, a “qualifying offense” must have occurred. Qualifying offenses include recent physical violence — generally something that occurred within the last six months. Threats of physical violence that happened within the last three to six months will also qualify. Harassment, recent sexual molestation or assault, stalking and severe verbal abuse can also qualify.

Finally, “qualifying evidence” must exist. That evidence can be as simple as a signed statement that lists abuse incidents that occurred. Preferably, the statement will also include the dates of the incidents. Other evidence may include police reports, hospital records, photographs of injuries, criminal protective orders and emergency protective orders.

Before making a request for a protective order, Maryland residents may want to make a list of all the above items to ensure that they have the necessary elements to prevail on request for protection from domestic abuse.