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

  • Defendant Avoids Conviction For Domestic Assault And Battery [M.G.L. ch. 265 section 13A]/Judge Vacates 209A Restraining Order October, 2015

    A long night out for a young college couple ended with an upset female and the male in custody charged with assault and battery. According to the police report, the pair began the night separately and ended up at an off campus party. Following an argument at the get together, they both independently returned to campus in the early morning hours of the evening. The police report alleged that the female complained to friends that the defendant struck her – this statement led to police involvement, the defendant's arrest and the issuance of a M.G.L. ch. 209A restraining order.

    After the issuance of the restraining order, Attorney McCarthy filed a Motion To Vacate The Order maintaining that the plaintiff had contacted the defendant following the order. After an evidentiary hearing, the judge vacated the restraining order. However, the criminal case continued to be litigated by the parties.

    Attorney McCarthy conducted extensive interviews and pre-trial investigation and litigated numerous motions. The young defendant wanted to avoid the risk of having a criminal conviction occur after trial and avoid the possibility of serving time in the House of Correction.  A disposition was negotiated whereby the defendant did NOT have to admit that he engaged in the criminal conduct however, agreed that the Commonwealth could prove the case if it went to trial. The defendant avoided a criminal conviction and the case is to be dismissed provided the defendant satisfies certain conditions.

    Read More in Domestic Assault and Battery

  • M.G.L. 209A Restraining Order Dismissed Against Defendant July, 2015

    The plaintiff alleged that the defendant placed in fear as the result of emails and text messages that were exchanged between the pair. The pair had dated for a number of years and had lived together. After breaking up the coupled remained in contact.

    The plaintiff applied for a 209A restraining and based on the claims in her affidavit the judge issued the order and scheduled a date for a two party hearing. Prior to the hearing, the defendant retained Attorney McCarthy to represent him.

    Our office spent significant time reviewing the emails and text messages and prepared a memorandum of law in opposition to the continuance of the order. On the day of the hearing, the plaintiff received a copy of the memorandum. The plaintiff left the courtroom prior to the evidentiary hearing and the judge vacated the order.

    Read More in Harassment Prevention Orders

  • Attorney McCarthy Successfully Vacates 209A Restraining Order For Out Of State Business Woman Following Evidentiary Hearing May, 2015

    A disgruntled daughter applied for a 209A restraining order against her out of state mother that she had not seen for over ten years. Apparently, distraught at receiving a birthday card, which the plaintiff did not open, she went to the local district court and applied for a 209A restraining order stating that the mother's alleged conduct from ten years ago put her in reasonable fear of immediate physical harm.

    Upon receiving the order, the defendant called Attorney McCarthy.  Attorney McCarthy interviewed witnesses, prepared a lengthy memorandum and appeared in court on the hearing date. Attorney McCarthy presented witnesses and strongly advocated for her client that the order was improperly issued and should not be continued. The judge agreed and the order was immediately terminated.

    Read More in 209A Restraining Orders