Protective Order or Domestic Violence

Serving Montgomery County, and the surrounding Maryland communities

Criminal Lawyer

Protective Order or Domestic Violence

In a Protective or Domestic Violence claim, a Petition is filed by the person (Petitioner) who is asserting that they have been wronged. This person must appear before a Court Commissioner during the weekend or a Judge during the regular week in order to obtain a temporary Court Order which would usually include forcing someone else to vacate a joint residence and/or stay away with no contact with the filing Party. If ordered by a Court Commissioner, such action will only be an Interim Order and a hearing will be scheduled for Monday when a Judge will hold a Temporary Hearing to consider re-issuing a Temporary Order for the same or similar relief. The person accused of wrong doing can appear at a Temporary hearing but the Judge has the right not to let them testify and/or defend themselves. If so decided by a Judge, the Temporary Order will be in place for one (1) week at which time a Final Hearing will be scheduled to allow the accused Party (Respondent) an opportunity to testify and/or contest the allegations with the hope of convincing a Judge to dismiss the matter. If the Respondent agrees or Consents to any Order at a Final Hearing, they are not entitled to a new trial if they appeal to the matter to the Circuit Court. If an Interim or Temporary Order has been issued, a Sheriff will usually serve it upon a person and only when that occurs will that person be responsible for honoring the requirements of that Court Order. If the Order requires a person to vacate their residence, arrangements can usually be made with the Sheriff's Department to schedule a time to retrieve some necessary personal items from their residence such as clothes, toiletries, etc. but not much more.

Although all criminal matters are filed and start out in District Court, felonies charged with the exception of theft, must be transferred to the Circuit Court if the government intends to prosecute a person on the felony. There are a few different ways this can occur.

Initially when a felony is at least one of the crimes charged, a Preliminary Hearing (PH) is scheduled by the Court as the first appearance for the person charged who is now designated as the Defendant. The PH is a legal proceeding only to determine if there is probable cause for the Government to prosecute the Defendant for a felony criminal charge. A Judge will hear evidence usually from a Police Officer and a Defendant's lawyer will have the right to question (cross examine) the Police Officer on the facts that might support this limited determination by the Court. Although difficult, if the Judge is not persuaded that there is probable cause for the felony charge, then it is usually dismissed though any misdemeanor criminal charges will still be scheduled for trial and will remain in the District Court.

Another method for the Government to maintain a prosecution for a felony criminal charge and transfer it to the Circuit Court is through the Grand Jury Process. In the larger Counties in Maryland, citizens are requested to appear each week to participate in a Grand Jury. As with the PH, the only decision for the member of the Grand Jury to make is if there is Probable Cause to allow the Government to continue with prosecuting a Defendant for a Felony Criminal Charge. Because you, your witnesses and your attorney are not allowed to participate in the Grand Jury Process, there is only a very small chance the Grand Jury will not agree to allow the Government to proceed with the Felony Criminal Charge as the Grand Jury only hears the Governments side of the facts. When a Grand Jury makes this decision, it is called a Bill of Indictment.

In most instances, the government will submit the criminal charges to the Grand Jury for consideration a few days before the PH. If successful, the case is removed from the District Court and transferred to the Circuit Court and the PH is cancelled.

If retained early, a lawyer for a Defendant will usually try to delay the PH by a postponement or waiving it altogether in order to review all available reports and information and to discuss the matter with the prosecutor to attempt to get the matter dismissed or to avoid an Indictment on a felony charge in order to keep any remaining misdemeanor charges in the District Court. Each case is different and may be handled in different ways after the Client and their lawyer discuss different strategy options.

It is very important to retain an experienced attorney as soon as you are charged with any criminal, traffic and/or Domestic Violence Offense in order to defend your interests and protect your rights. Stephen F. Allen and the law Office of Stephen F. Allen, P.C. has more than thirty (30) years of experience successfully representing persons accused of Misdemeanor, Felony and Domestic Violence crimes and/or accusations.

For a free initial consultation contact us at (301)987-2002. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do not wait as certain legal rights may be waived. Call us now.

Allen Law Center
Additional Practice Areas

Handling all matters in all Maryland Counties and the District of Columbia

Protective/Domestic Violence

In a Protective or Domestic Violence claim, a Petition is filed by the person asserting they have been wronged.
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