Juvenile Peace Orders
The following is provided for information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice for any particular situation. For questions or issues regarding protective orders and peace orders you should consult with an attorney before making any decisions.
If a child or adult needs immediate protection from someone who is under the age of 18, a peace order will have to be sought through the juvenile court system. By law, a request for a peace order against a minor is supposed to be filed by an “intake officer.” This is someone who works for the county branch of the Department of Juvenile Services. This initial intake process acts as a filter. It is generally understood that children of all ages are in a process of learning how to behave properly. Not every verbal or physical dispute between children is appropriate for court intervention. A juvenile intake worker is more likely to pursue a peace order when there is a repeated pattern of abusive or threatening behavior by one child against another, or if there is a single but serious act of violence. Juvenile peace orders can be useful to address "bullying" situations.
To file for such a juvenile peace order the complaining person must be able to present evidence that the minor respondent, within the previous 30 days, committed one or more of the following: (1) an act that causes serious bodily harm, or places the petitioner in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, and/or (2) assault, rape, false imprisonment, harassment, stalking, trespass, malicious destruction or property as defined by law.
If a judge decides to issue a juvenile peace order, it may only be effective for up to 6 months. A juvenile peace order can order the respondent to stop contacting or harassing the petitioner, among other things. A big problem with juvenile peace orders occurs when both parties go to the same school. Sometimes the school is required to place one or both students in different classes to minimize the contact the students will have with one another. If you feel you have a situation in which you may want to get a protective order against a person who is under the age of 18, or may have to defend against someone’s claim for a juvenile peace order, call us at 301-251-9001.