Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peace Order Statute for Maryland

Maryland Peace Order Statute  - If you are facing a Peace Order Hearing in Baltimore County, Maryland, contact the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC, at 410-288-2900 to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.

*** Current through chapters of the 2011 Regular Session of the General Assembly that took effect through July 1, 2011 ***

COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS 
TITLE 3. COURTS OF GENERAL JURISDICTION -- JURISDICTION/SPECIAL CAUSES OF ACTION 
SUBTITLE 15. PEACE ORDERS

Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. (2011)

§ 3-1501. Definitions
(a) In general. -- In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) Commissioner. -- "Commissioner" means a District Court commissioner appointed in accordance with Article IV, § 41G of the Maryland Constitution.

(c) Court. -- "Court" means the District Court of Maryland.

(d) Final peace order. -- "Final peace order" means a peace order issued by a judge under § 3-1505 of this subtitle.

(e) Interim peace order. -- "Interim peace order" means an order that a commissioner issues under this subtitle pending a hearing by a judge on a petition.

(f) Petitioner. -- "Petitioner" means an individual who files a petition under § 3-1503 of this subtitle.

(g) Residence. -- "Residence" includes the yard, grounds, outbuildings, and common areas surrounding the residence.

(h) Respondent. -- "Respondent" means an individual alleged in a petition to have committed an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against a petitioner.

(i) Temporary peace order. -- "Temporary peace order" means a peace order issued by a judge under § 3-1504 of this subtitle.

§ 3-1502. Exclusivity; applicability of subtitle
(a) Other remedies generally not precluded. -- By proceeding under this subtitle, a petitioner is not limited to or precluded from pursuing any other legal remedy.

(b) Circumstances where subtitle is inapplicable. -- This subtitle does not apply to:

(1) A petitioner who is a person eligible for relief, as defined in § 4-501 of the Family Law Article; or

(2) A respondent who is a child at the time of the alleged commission of an act specified in § 3-1503 (a) of this subtitle.

§ 3-1503. Petition seeking relief
(a) Underlying acts. -- A petitioner may seek relief under this subtitle by filing with the court, or with a commissioner under the circumstances specified in § 3-1503.1(a) of this subtitle, a petition that alleges the commission of any of the following acts against the petitioner by the respondent, if the act occurred within 30 days before the filing of the petition:

(1) An act that causes serious bodily harm;

(2) An act that places the petitioner in fear of imminent serious bodily harm;

(3) Assault in any degree;

(4) Rape or sexual offense under §§ 3-303 through 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article or attempted rape or sexual offense in any degree;

(5) False imprisonment;

(6) Harassment under § 3-803 of the Criminal Law Article;

(7) Stalking under § 3-802 of the Criminal Law Article;

(8) Trespass under Title 6, Subtitle 4 of the Criminal Law Article; or

(9) Malicious destruction of property under § 6-301 of the Criminal Law Article.

(b) Contents. --

(1) The petition shall:
(i) Be under oath and provide notice to the petitioner that an individual who knowingly provides false information in the petition is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to the penalties specified in subsection (d) of this section;
(ii) Subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, contain the address of the petitioner; and
(iii) Include all information known to the petitioner of:

1. The nature and extent of the act specified in subsection (a) of this section for which the relief is being sought, including information known to the petitioner concerning previous harm or injury resulting from an act specified in subsection (a) of this section by the respondent;

2. Each previous and pending action between the parties in any court; and

3. The whereabouts of the respondent.

(c) Address may be stricken. -- If, in a proceeding under this subtitle, a petitioner alleges, and the commissioner or judge finds, that the disclosure of the address of the petitioner would risk further harm to the petitioner, that address may be stricken from the petition and omitted from all other documents filed with the commissioner or filed with, or transferred to, a court.

(d) Providing false information. -- An individual who knowingly provides false information in a petition filed under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both.

§ 3-1503.1. Petition seeking relief -- Filing with commissioner; peace orders; penalties
(a) When to file. -- A petition under this subtitle may be filed with a commissioner when the Office of the District Court Clerk is not open for business.

(b) Interim peace order. -- If a petition is filed with a commissioner and the commissioner finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has committed, and is likely to commit in the future, an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the petitioner, the commissioner may issue an interim peace order to protect the petitioner.

(c) Interim peace order -- Scope. -- An interim peace order:

(1) Shall contain only the relief that is minimally necessary to protect the petitioner; and

(2) May order the respondent to:

(i) Refrain from committing or threatening to commit an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the petitioner;

(ii) Refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing the petitioner;

(iii) Refrain from entering the residence of the petitioner; and

(iv) Remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of the petitioner.

(d) Interim peace order -- Contents; notice. --

(1) (i) An interim peace order shall state the date, time, and location for the temporary peace order hearing and a tentative date, time, and location for a final peace order hearing.

(ii) A temporary peace order hearing shall be held on the first or second day on which a District Court judge is sitting after issuance of the interim peace order, unless the court continues the hearing for good cause.

(2) An interim peace order shall include in at least 10-point bold type:

(i) Notice to the respondent that:

1. The respondent must give the court written notice of each change of address;

2. If the respondent fails to appear at the temporary peace order hearing or any later hearing, the respondent may be served with any other orders or notices in the case by first-class mail at the respondent's last known address;

3. The date, time, and location of the final peace order hearing is tentative only, and subject to change; and

4. If the respondent does not attend the temporary peace order hearing, the respondent may call the Office of the Clerk of the District Court at the number provided in the order to find out the actual date, time, and location of any final peace order hearing;

(ii) A statement of all possible forms and duration of relief that a temporary peace order or final peace order may contain;

(iii) Notice to the petitioner and respondent that, at the hearing, a judge may issue a temporary peace order that grants any or all of the relief requested in the petition or may deny the petition, whether or not the respondent is in court;

(iv) A warning to the respondent that violation of an interim peace order is a crime and that a law enforcement officer shall arrest the respondent, with or without a warrant, and take the respondent into custody if the officer has probable cause to believe that the respondent has violated any provision of the interim peace order; and

(v) The phone number of the Office of the District Court Clerk.

(e) Duties of commissioner issuing order. -- Whenever a commissioner issues an interim peace order, the commissioner shall:

(1) Immediately forward a copy of the petition and interim peace order to the appropriate law enforcement agency for service on the respondent; and

(2) Before the hearing scheduled in the interim peace order, transfer the case file and the return of service, if any, to the Office of the District Court Clerk.

(f) Duties of law enforcement officer. -- A law enforcement officer shall:

(1) Immediately on receipt of a petition and interim peace order, serve them on the respondent named in the order; and

(2) Immediately after service, make a return of service to the commissioner's office or, if the Office of the District Court Clerk is open for business, to the clerk.

(g) Length of effectiveness of order. -- An interim peace order shall be effective until the earlier of:

(1) The temporary peace order hearing under § 3-1504 of this subtitle; or

(2) The end of the second business day the Office of the Clerk of the District Court is open following the issuance of an interim peace order.

(h) Commissioner's decision not binding on judge. -- A decision of a commissioner to grant or deny relief under this section is not binding on, and does not affect any power granted to or duty imposed on, a judge of a circuit court or the District Court under any law, including any power to grant or deny a petition for a temporary peace order or final peace order.

(i) Penalties for providing false information. -- An individual who knowingly provides false information in a petition filed under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both.

§ 3-1504. Temporary peace orders
(a) Authorized; forms of relief available. --

(1) If after a hearing on a petition, whether ex parte or otherwise, a judge finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has committed, and is likely to commit in the future, an act specified in § 3-1503 (a) of this subtitle against the petitioner, the judge may issue a temporary peace order to protect the petitioner.

(2) The temporary peace order may include any or all of the following relief:

(i) Order the respondent to refrain from committing or threatening to commit an act specified in § 3-1503 (a) of this subtitle against the petitioner;

(ii) Order the respondent to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing the petitioner;

(iii) Order the respondent to refrain from entering the residence of the petitioner; and

(iv) Order the respondent to remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of the petitioner.

(3) If the judge issues an order under this section, the order shall contain only the relief that is minimally necessary to protect the petitioner.

(b) Immediate service. --

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a law enforcement officer immediately shall serve the temporary peace order on the respondent.

(2) A respondent who has been served with an interim peace order under § 3-1503.1 of this subtitle shall be served with the temporary peace order in open court or, if the respondent is not present at the temporary peace order hearing, by first-class mail at the respondent's last known address.

(c) Length of effectiveness. --

(1) The temporary peace order shall be effective for not more than 7 days after service of the order.

(2) The judge may extend the temporary peace order as needed, but not to exceed 30 days, to effectuate service of the order where necessary to provide protection or for other good cause.

(d) Final peace order hearing. -- The judge may proceed with a final peace order hearing instead of a temporary peace order hearing if:

(1) (i) The respondent appears at the hearing;

(ii) The respondent has been served with an interim peace order; or

(iii) The court otherwise has personal jurisdiction over the respondent; and

(2) The petitioner and the respondent expressly consent to waive the temporary peace order hearing.

§ 3-1505. Respondent's opportunity to be heard; peace order hearing; forms of relief
(a) Respondent's opportunity to be heard. -- A respondent shall have an opportunity to be heard on the question of whether the judge should issue a final peace order.

(b) Peace order hearing -- Date and time; notice. --

(1) (i) The temporary peace order shall state the date and time of the final peace order hearing.

(ii) Unless continued for good cause, the final peace order hearing shall be held no later than 7 days after the temporary peace order is served on the respondent.

(2) The temporary peace order shall include notice to the respondent:

(i) In at least 10-point bold type, that if the respondent fails to appear at the final peace order hearing, the respondent may be served by first-class mail at the respondent's last known address with the final peace order and all other notices concerning the final peace order;

(ii) Specifying all the possible forms of relief under subsection (d) of this section that the final peace order may contain;

(iii) That the final peace order shall be effective for the period stated in the order, not to exceed 6 months; and

(iv) In at least 10-point bold type, that the respondent must notify the court in writing of any change of address.

(c) Peace order hearing -- Proceeding; issuance of order. --

(1) If the respondent appears for the final peace order hearing, has been served with an interim peace order or a temporary peace order, or the court otherwise has personal jurisdiction over the respondent, the judge:

(i) May proceed with the final peace order hearing; and

(ii) If the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent has committed, and is likely to commit in the future, an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the petitioner, or if the respondent consents to the entry of a peace order, the court may issue a final peace order to protect the petitioner.

(2) A final peace order may be issued only to an individual who has filed a petition under § 3-1503 of this subtitle.

(3) In cases where both parties file a petition under § 3-1503 of this subtitle, the judge may issue mutual peace orders if the judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that each party has committed, and is likely to commit in the future, an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the other party.

(d) Peace order -- Forms of relief. --

(1) The final peace order may include any or all of the following relief:

(i) Order the respondent to refrain from committing or threatening to commit an act specified in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the petitioner;

(ii) Order the respondent to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing the petitioner;

(iii) Order the respondent to refrain from entering the residence of the petitioner;

(iv) Order the respondent to remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of the petitioner;

(v) Direct the respondent or petitioner to participate in professionally supervised counseling or, if the parties are amenable, mediation; and

(vi) Order either party to pay filing fees and costs of a proceeding under this subtitle.

(2) If the judge issues an order under this section, the order shall contain only the relief that is minimally necessary to protect the petitioner.

(e) Peace order -- Service. --

(1) A copy of the final peace order shall be served on the petitioner, the respondent, the appropriate law enforcement agency, and any other person the court determines is appropriate, in open court or, if the person is not present at the final peace order hearing, by first-class mail to the person's last known address.

(2) (i) A copy of the final peace order served on the respondent in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection constitutes actual notice to the respondent of the contents of the final peace order.

(ii) Service is complete upon mailing.

(f) Length of effectiveness. -- All relief granted in a final peace order shall be effective for the period stated in the order, not to exceed 6 months.

§ 3-1506. Modification; rescission; appeals
(a) Modification; rescission. -- A peace order may be modified or rescinded during the term of the peace order after:

(1) Giving notice to the petitioner and the respondent; and

(2) A hearing.

(b) Appeal to circuit court. --

(1) If a District Court judge grants or denies relief under a petition filed under this subtitle, a respondent or a petitioner may appeal to the circuit court for the county where the District Court is located.

(2) An appeal taken under this subsection to the circuit court shall be heard de novo in the circuit court.

(3) (i) If an appeal is filed under this subsection, the District Court judgment shall remain in effect until superseded by a judgment of the circuit court.

(ii) Unless the circuit court orders otherwise, modification or enforcement of the District Court order shall be by the District Court.

§ 3-1507. Statement concerning violations
(a) In general. -- An interim peace order, temporary peace order, and final peace order issued under this subtitle shall state that a violation of the order may result in:

(1) Criminal prosecution; and

(2) Imprisonment or fine or both.

(b) Temporary and final peace orders. -- A temporary peace order and final peace order issued under this subtitle shall state that a violation of the order may result in a finding of contempt.

§ 3-1508. Penalties
(a) Fines or imprisonment. -- An individual who fails to comply with the relief granted in an interim peace order under § 3-1503.1 of this subtitle, a temporary peace order under § 3-1504(a)(2) of this subtitle, or a final peace order under § 3-1505(d)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of this subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject, for each offense, to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both.

(b) Arrest. -- A law enforcement officer shall arrest with or without a warrant and take into custody an individual who the officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of an interim peace order, temporary peace order, or final peace order in effect at the time of the violation.

§ 3-1509. Rules and forms
(a) Authorized. -- The Court of Appeals may adopt rules and forms to implement the provisions of this subtitle.

(b) Petition form. --

(1) The Court of Appeals shall adopt a form for a petition under this subtitle.

(2) A petition form shall contain notice to a petitioner that an individual who knowingly provides false information in a petition filed under this subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to the penalties specified in § 3-1503 (d) of this subtitle.

§ 3-1510. Shielding of records
(a) Definitions. --

(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) (i) "Court record" means an official record of a court about a proceeding that the clerk of a court or other court personnel keeps.

(ii) "Court record" includes:

1. An index, a docket entry, a petition, a memorandum, a transcription of proceedings, an electronic recording, an order, and a judgment; and

2. Any electronic information about a proceeding on the website maintained by the Maryland Judiciary.

(3) "Shield" means to remove information from public inspection in accordance with this section.

(4) "Shielding" means:

(i) With respect to a record kept in a courthouse, removing to a separate secure area to which persons who do not have a legitimate reason for access are denied access; and

(ii) With respect to electronic information about a proceeding on the website maintained by the Maryland Judiciary, removing the information from the public website.

(5) "Victim services provider" means a nonprofit organization that has been authorized by the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention or the Department of Human Services to have access to records of shielded peace orders in order to assist victims of abuse.

(b) Written request. -- If a petition filed under this subtitle is denied or dismissed at the interim, temporary, or final peace order stage of a proceeding under this subtitle, the respondent may file a written request to shield all court records relating to the proceeding.

(c) Timing. -- A request for shielding under this section may not be filed within 3 years after the denial or dismissal of the petition unless the respondent files with the request a general waiver and release of all the respondent's tort claims related to the proceeding under this subtitle.

(d) Notice, hearing and findings. --

(1) On the filing of a request for shielding under this section, the court shall schedule a hearing on the request.

(2) The court shall give notice of the hearing to the petitioner or the petitioner's counsel of record.

(3) Except as provided in paragraphs (4) and (5) of this subsection, after the hearing, the court shall order the shielding of all court records relating to the proceeding if the court finds:

(i) That the petition was denied or dismissed at the interim, temporary, or final peace order stage of the proceeding;

(ii) That a final peace order or protective order has not been previously issued in a proceeding between the petitioner and the respondent; and

(iii) That none of the following are pending at the time of the hearing:

1. An interim or temporary peace order or protective order issued in a proceeding between the petitioner and the respondent; or

2. A criminal charge against the respondent arising from an alleged act described in § 3-1503(a) of this subtitle against the petitioner.

(4) (i) If the petitioner appears at the shielding hearing and objects to the shielding, the court may, for good cause, deny the shielding.

(ii) In determining whether there is good cause to grant the request to shield court records, the court shall balance the privacy of the respondent and potential danger of adverse consequences to the respondent against the potential risk of future harm and danger to the petitioner and the community.

(5) Information about the proceeding may not be removed from the Domestic Violence Central Repository.

(e) Access to shielded record. --

(1) This section does not preclude the following persons from accessing a shielded record for a legitimate reason:

(i) A law enforcement officer;

(ii) An attorney who represents or has represented the petitioner or the respondent in a proceeding;

(iii) A State's Attorney;

(iv) An employee of a local department of social services; or

(v) A victim services provider.

(2) (i) A person not listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection may subpoena, or file a motion for access to, a record shielded under this section.

(ii) If the court finds that the person has a legitimate reason for access, the court may grant the person access to the shielded record under the terms and conditions that the court determines.

(iii) In ruling on a motion under this paragraph, the court shall balance the person's need for access to the record with the respondent's right to privacy and the potential harm of unwarranted adverse consequences to the respondent that the disclosure may create.

(f) Compliance with order. -- Within 60 days after entry of an order under subsection (d)(3) of this section, each custodian of court records that are subject to the order of shielding shall advise in writing the court and the respondent of compliance with the order.