Provide the Proof for Protection

Protective Orders, the Subpoena, and Clear & Convincing Evidence

If you are the victim of domestic violence, a Protective Order can help protect you from further abuse. (More information about how to obtain a Protective Order can be found HERE.) An attorney can help you manage the process in obtaining one. Here are a few things you should consider.

The first step in obtaining a Final Protective Order is to first seek a Temporary Protective Order. A Temporary Protective Orders requires you go before a judge and attest that abuse has been committed against you. A Temporary Protective Order is valid for 7 days. After 7 days, a hearing is held on the merits of your case to obtain a Final Protective Order, which is valid up to one year.

Often, police are called to respond to domestic violence incidents. Police officers observe the parties, talk to witnesses, and make written reports. A police officer can be a powerful testament and provide specific details of the incident. Getting a police officer to court can determine whether or not the court issues a Protective Order. However, a police officer must be subpoenaed at least 5 days before the court date. Because a Temporary Protective Order is only valid for the 7 days until the next court date, the subpoena must be processed immediately to give the police officer the required notice to appear. A lawyer can help you through this process and help ensure that the potentially powerful and decisive testimony of the responding police officer is heard before the court.

Another issue to keep in mind is that the victim of abuse (the Petitioner) is required to prove to the judge that the alleged abuse took place by clear and convincing evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is a standard that requires more proof than the typical civil case. Protective Orders are civil proceedings, but since they impose such a serious sanction on the Respondent (the party alleged to have committed the abuse), Protective Orders require a higher burden of proof. Without it, the judge can’t grant a Protective Order. With this burden in mind, a lawyer can help you manage this heightened evidentiary standard and evaluate all the information relevant for the hearing that can help you meet this burden.

Fred Antenberg is an attorney in Columbia, Maryland who handles domestic violence and family law issues in Howard County, Maryland and surrounding counties. CONTACT Fred at 410-730-4404.