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
  • Motion To Amend/Vacate 209A Restraining Order Denied

    Our office successfully secured a 209A restraining order for a plaintiff against a roommate and her two children.  Per the order the defendant and her children had to vacate the property on a specific date. The defendant wanted to extend her stay and filed a motion to amend/vacate the 209A restraining order.

    During the hearing our office strongly advocated that the order must stay in effect and any dispute over the division of the real estate and personal property must be resolved in another forum. The judge agreed and the plaintiff walked out of the courthouse excited to go home.

    Read More in Violent Crimes

  • M.G.L. Chapter 209A Restraining Order Extended For One Year

    A plaintiff applied for and was granted a temporary 209A restraining order against her estranged husband during an ex-parte hearing. Upon realizing that her husband would appear at the extension hearing, our office was hired to present evidence relative to the plaintiff's need to extend of the order for one year.

    Our office did extensive interviews with the plaintiff and reviewed evidence. Following the plaintiff's emotional testimony her disgruntled husband testified alleging that any physical incidents were due to the wife's inappropriate behavior. After a lengthy and effective cross-examination of the defendant, the judge agreed with our position and the restraining order was extended for one year.

    Read More in Assault and Battery

  • Judge Denies Plaintiff's Request To Extend M.G.L. ch. 209A Restraining Order Against Client

    A defendant contacted our office after being served with a M.G.L. ch. 209A restraining order initiated by his former fiancé.  Our office scrupulously examined the affidavit and prepared a lengthy cross-examination of the plaintiff to put all of her allegations in perspective. Through an effective examination of the plaintiff, it was clarified that most of her complaints stemmed from incidents dating back from nine to twelve months. The most recent contact was a coincidental crossing of the pair's paths that led to the plaintiff to filing the restraining order. During the hearing it was demonstrated that after this chance encounter, the plaintiff contacted the defendant and the defendant never responded.  Counsel vehemently argued that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant's actions put her in reasonable apprehension of IMMEDIATE SERIOUS PHYSICAL HARM.  The judge declined to extend the order for a year. The client walked out of the courthouse relieved.

    Read More in Stalking