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Legal Information: Maryland

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 27, 2023

How do I register my protective order in Maryland?

Although registering an order is not required for the order to be enforced, the Maryland courts website has a form available for registering a foreign protection order here.  For advice on whether or not to register the order, you may want to talk to an attorney.  Go to our MD Finding a Lawyer page for referrals. 

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains protective orders, that is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials. All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.1

1 See the FBI website

Do I have to register my protective order in Maryland in order to get it enforced?

Maryland state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as it has been filed with the local court or as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order that appears to be valid.1 Maryland does not have a registration process in place, so your order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by a Maryland police officer.2 It is important to know, however, that the protections that are allowed under Maryland state law are the ones that will be enforced.3 For more information, you may want to get advice from an attorney who is familiar with foreign protection orders. You can find legal referrals on our MD Finding a Lawyer page.

1 MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(b), (c)
2 MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(c)
3 MD Code, Family Law § 4-508.1(b)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protective order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Planning page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our MD Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

Does it cost anything to register my protective order?

Under federal law, which applies to all states, U.S. states and territories that receive certain federal funding cannot charge you a fee to register, obtain or serve a protection order that is related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.1 All 50 states, U.S. territories, and some tribes receive this funding. If you believe you are wrongly being charged a fee, you can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 800-903-0111, ext. 2 for assistance.

1 34 U.S.C. §§ 10450(a); 10461(c)(1); see also MD ST § 7-202(II)(C), (III)(B)(1)(G)