There are some instances where relationships between individuals turn into aggressive behavior, threats, harassment, and even physical violence. To protect themselves and their loved ones, people can ask the court system to intervene and issue a restraining order to prevent any further harm or harassment. In other situations, a disgruntled ex-partner, a vindictive neighbor, or even an estranged family member seeks a restraining order based on complete falsehoods and fabrications.
If you need help getting a court to issue a restraining order for your protection, or need help fighting phony allegations that could lead to the issuance of a restraining order against you, it is of the upmost importance to contact an attorney before it’s too late. At Bonville & Howard, our team of attorneys have a combined 100 years of experience assisting our clients in obtaining and defending the issuance of a restraining order. Our office is located in Fitchburg, MA, but we represent clients in restraining order hearings all over the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Types of Restraining Orders and What They Do
In Massachusetts, there are two types of restraining orders. The first type of restraining order is called a 209A Abuse Prevention Order, or just simply a 209A. A 209A is a court order which grants a person protection against further abuse. Massachusetts courts define abuse as any attempt or act of physical harm, generating a reasonable fear of imminent physical harm, or coercion of a sexual act through means of force, threat, or duress.
People who are subject to a 209A order include someone who you are or were married to, someone who you are, or were, living with, a family member related by blood or marriage, the parent of your child, even if you were never married, or someone who you are, or have been in a serious dating or engagement relationship with.
The second type of restraining order is called a 258E Harassment Prevention Order, or simply a 258E. A 258E is like a 209A, but there are some differences. Unlike a 209A, a 258E can be issued against anyone who can be considered a threat to the plaintiff. Also, 258E requires there to be a pattern of harassment, which includes three or more acts that show willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause, or actually causes, fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property. Similar to a 209A, a single act of sexual misconduct occurring by force, threat, or duress, as well as stalking, also satisfy the requirements of 258E.
The issuance of a restraining order imposes conditions which are meant to protect the plaintiff from any further harm. Some of the conditions could include preventing the defendant from contacting, or being a certain distance to, you at your home or place of employment, as well as requiring the defendant to surrender any firearms to their local police department.
To be clear, a restraining order is a civil order which, if issued, enters the Defendant into a statewide registry, which can have serious implications for the defendant’s future employment opportunities. However, if the defendant violates a restraining order, they could be arrested, criminally charged with violating the restraining order, and could serve up to two and a half years in jail and/or have to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you need the court to issue a restraining order to protect you, or you received notice that someone is attempting to get a restraining order against you, please call our office right away to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys today. We will use our knowledge, experience, and expertise to guide you through the complexities and nuanced process of obtaining, or defending against, a restraining order.