During the 2018 Regular Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a new bill that would expand the circumstances and streamline the process by which victims of domestic violence can obtain a permanent protective order. The bill was approved by Governor Larry Hogan on May 8, 2018 and has gone effect as of October 1, 2018.
Prior to the new bill (HB1303) being passed, getting a permanent protective order was a lengthy process. Before the bill, a victim had to:
1) obtain an interim or temporary protective order,
2) satisfy the conditions that would allow the victim to obtain an original final protective order, and
3) re-file for a second final protective order after the original final protective order expires. This second final protective order would be permanent, unless terminated by the victim.
Under the new law, a victim can obtain a permanent protective order in a more streamlined process that decreases the amount of court visits and petitions a victim must file. The bill defines two circumstances in which a victim can get a permanent protective order without multiple protective order petitions.
In the first scenario, a victim can receive a permanent protective order from the court if 1) an interim, temporary, or final protective order has already been issued against their aggressor and 2) the aggressor was convicted of and has served at least 12 months of a five-year or longer sentence for the act of abuse that led to the issuance of the interim, temporary, or final protective order. This scenario allows the victim to bypass the prior process of petitioning for a second final protective order for the order to become permanent.
In the second scenario, a victim can get a permanent protective order from the court if 1) during the term of an interim, temporary, or final protective order 2) the aggressor commits a new act of aggression against the victim, for which the aggressor is convicted of and has served at least 12 months of a five-year or longer sentence for that new act.
The new bill makes it so that victims are not required to wait and see if an aggressor will attempt another act of violence against the victim after serving a period of imprisonment, rather the victim can take a proactive action for his or her own safety.