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 Restraining Orders placed on innocent persons.

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.

Defense of Restraining Order Violations in Massachusetts

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 by calling 978-975-8060.

Case Results » Restraining Orders
  • Court Terminates M.G.L. ch. 209A Restraining Order Following Evidentiary Hearing

    The Court granted a disgruntled ex-girlfriend a temporary 209A restraining order based on her allegations that the defendant threatening her and continuously contacting her through text messages and emails.

    During the extension hearing Attorney McCarthy cross-examined the plaintiff and exposed her unreasonableness and lack of credibility. McCarthy emphasized to the judge that the plaintiff failed to allege acts that indicated that she was put in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily harm. The Court agreed and vacated the order.

    Read More in Threats

  • Attorney McCarthy Prevents Extension of a M.G.L. Chapter 209A Restraining Order

    Following a tumultuous divorce a disgruntled wife filed a M.G.L. Chapter 209A restraining order against her former husband alleging abuse of the teenage child. Attorney McCarthy conducted interviews and represented the defendant on the day of the restraining order hearing.  The order was terminated before the parties left the courthouse.

  • Case Dismissed Against Client Charged With Violating A Restraining Order

    A M.G.L. Chapter 209A restraining order issued against a defendant.  The plaintiff and the defendant had a young child together and shared custody of him. During a drop off the plaintiff claimed that the defendant violated the yardage restriction on the restraining order [M.G.L. Chapter 209A Section 7] by proceeding too far up the driveway to get his son.

    Attorney McCarthy investigated the incident.  The case was ultimately dismissed when the complaining witness and spouse exercised her marital privilege not to testify against her husband. Based on the exercise of the privilege the Commonwealth dismissed the case against the defendant.

    Read More in Defenses to Crimes