Restraining Orders

A Restraining Order or Order of Protection can turn normal life into a nightmare.  If you have been ordered by the Court to stay away from anyone, especially an ex-spouse, the simple act of walking into a local restaurant can lead to an arrest and jail time.  A trip to a park where your children are present could lead to their seeing you being arrested and taken away in a police car.

If you believe you are going to be served or have already been served with a Restraining Order or an Order of Protection, contact Massachusetts Restraining Order Lawyer Kathleen M. McCarthy now at 978-975-8060 or click here to send an email.  McCarthy will fight to protect your rights and freedoms.

Known as a Chapter 209(A), a Restraining Order can be issued by a court with no evidence or real proof.  It is based on little more than one person saying that they are afraid of another person, whether that person has done anything or not.  Temporary or emergency orders can be issued without your even knowing that they are in place.  There is a great deal of controversy over the unrestricted use of 209(A)s, and with good reason.    Unfortunately, 209(A)s are often used by disgruntled spouses where divorces have turned spiteful or by angry ex-spouses when child support or visitation is at issue.  A 209(A) is used as a tactic to prevent involved parents from being a part of their child’s lives.   Vindictive former partners in relationships also abuse the Massachusetts Restraining Orders laws and have a Restraining Order placed on an innocent person.

If you believe you are going to be served or have already been served with a Restraining Order or an Order of Protection, contact Massachusetts Restraining Order Lawyer Kathleen M. McCarthy now at 978-975-8060 or click here to send an email.  McCarthy will fight to protect your rights and freedoms.

Violation of a Restraining Order is punishable with up to two and a half (2 ½) years in prison and fines that can be as high as $5,000.  Subsequent violations can lead even harsher terms.

You can take steps to protect yourself from being victimized by a Restraining Order with aggressive representation by Kathleen M. McCarthy.  She has successfully represented both men and women in having Restraining Orders vacated when they are being used as a means of harassment.  She will fight to protect your rights to go where you want when you want.  

If you believe you are going to be served or have already been served with a Restraining Order or an Order of Protection, contact Massachusetts Restraining Order Lawyer Kathleen M. McCarthy now at 978-975-8060 or click here to send an email.  McCarthy will fight to protect your rights and freedoms. 


In Massachusetts it is all too common for people to seek and obtain restraining orders against people as a matter of retaliation and vengeance.  As such, it is important for you to hire a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in fighting the issuance of restraining orders.  Kathleen McCarthy is that lawyer. 

The Basis for the Issuance of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts a person “suffering from abuse” from a “family or household member” may file a complaint requesting that a judge issue a restraining order.  The authority for the issuance of restraining orders is derived from M.G.L. ch. 209A §3. 

“Abuse” has been defined as 1) attempting to cause or causing physical harm, 2) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm, 3) causing someone to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by force, threat or duress. 

“Family or Household Members” are people who 1) are or were married to one another, 2) people who are or were residing in the same household, 3) are or were related by blood or marriage, 4) have a child together or 5) who are or were in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.

A judge upon reviewing the complaint may issue a restraining order that tells a person:

1.    That he or she must refrain from abusing the person making the complaint;

2.    That he or she must refrain from contacting the person making the complaint;

3.    That he or she must vacate the house. 

Unfortunately someone merely has to go to a courthouse and fill out a form complaining that he or she has been abused as defined by the statute and the restraining order will issue.  This is why it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Kathleen McCarthy to discuss your rights.  Restraining orders can be modified and vacated as a matter of law.  If a restraining order has been issued against you and you believe it was wrongly issued, you should contact Attorney Kathleen McCarthy to see if the order can be removed.

Attorney McCarthy has succeeded in getting restraining orders vacated.  The importance of this cannot be underestimated.  The violation of restraining orders often results in the issuance of a criminal complaint

Penalties for Violating Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

A conviction for violating the terms of a restraining order in Massachusetts can result in a person going to jail for up to two and one half (2 ½) years. 

Examples of violations of restraining orders in Massachusetts are:

1.    Having flowers delivered anonymously;

2.    Test messaging;

3.    IMing;

4.    Emailing;

5.    Shouting obscenities at a person’s work place whether or not the person was present at the time;

6.    Contacting the protected party through a third party;

7.    Telephone calls including leaving voicemails;

8.    Having a third party tell the protected person that you still love them.

If a restraining order has been issued against you or if you have been charged with violating a restraining order in Massachusetts you should contact Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Kathleen McCarthy now either by clicking here or calling 978-975-8060. 

Case Results » Restraining Orders

  • Attorney McCarthy Prevents Continuation Of 209A Restraining Order December 17, 2014

    The plaintiff applied for a restraining order claiming that the father her child was “abusive” and that she was afraid of him. Attorney McCarthy represented the defendant at the hearing.  After the plaintiff testified Attorney McCarthy effectively argued that she failed to demonstrate that even if the judge believed what the plaintiff stated, there was not enough evidence to establish that the plaintiff was put in reasonable fear of immediate serious physical harm.  The judge agreed and the restraining order was vacated without the defendant having to testify.

    Read More in 209A Restraining Orders

  • Client Avoids Being Charged With Violating A Restraining Order After Clerk-Magistrate's Hearing November 29, 2014

    The complaining witness alleged that her former boyfriend [client] contacted her through a third party following the issuance of a Harassment Prevention Order. Out of state received a summons to appear for a "Clerk Magistrate's Hearing" in a local courthouse. The alleged violation was an email sent from a computer that was not the defendant's.

    Attorney McCarthy interviewed witnesses and compiled documentary evidence illustrating that the email was not sent by the defendant—but by another disgruntled former girlfriend. The former girlfriend was apparently contacting a number of the client's former lovers in an effort to understand their break up.

    Following the hearing the clerk did not issue the complaint. Provided that the defendant continues to abide by the restraining order the case will be completely dismissed. The client was NEVER arraigned and there will be no entry on his board of probation record.

    Read more in Restraining Orders

  • Attorney McCarthy Successfully Argued That Roommates Were Not "Household Members" Pursuant To A 209A Restraining Order And Judge Vacated Order August 29, 2014

    The plaintiff and the defendant were roommates in a rooming house with shared living space but individual bedrooms. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant "grabbed" her arm during an argument and "stole" a house painting. The District Court judge issued a temporary order and then extended the order following an evidentiary hearing.

    Following the extension hearing, the defendant hired Attorney McCarthy. Attorney McCarthy filed a motion to reconsider the issuance and extension of the order. Recently, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [SJC] issued the opinion of Silva v. Carmel, 468 Mass. 18 (2014). In this opinion the SJC explained more precisely the type of relationship the civil 209A restraining orders were designed to protect. The Court focused on what constitutes "residing together in the same household." In Silva, the litigants were both residents in a state run facility and the Court held that they did not enjoy the type of domestic relationship that the statute was aimed to protect. The decision emphasized the importance of a "family" type setting and an "interdependent social relationship." Both elements that the Court held were lacking in the "roommate type" situation in Silva.

    During the hearing on the motion to reconsider for her client, Attorney McCarthy argued that her client and the plaintiff were simply "roommates" and did not enjoy the type of "family relationship" that the statute was written to protect and accordingly, the order should be vacated. The judge agreed and the order was terminated effective immediately.

    If you have been served with a restraining order of any type and want experience, skill and a knowledge of the most current law on your side contact Attorney McCarthy at 978-975-8060 or on line and she will get to work on your case immediately.

    Read more in Restraining Orders