Restraining Orders

Boston Restraining Order Lawyer

Massachusetts residents who are being abused by a family or household member can obtain an abuse prevention order from a court, commonly known as a restraining order.

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A, a person, as a plaintiff, can ask a court to issue a restraining order against an abuser, the defendant,. The standard dictated by the law, and applied by the courts, is whether a “substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse” exists. Abuse is defined as attempting to cause or causing physical harm, placing someone in fear of imminent serious physical harm, or forcing someone to engage in sexual relations.

If a court grants a restraining order, it will first grant a temporary order. A temporary restraining order is valid for up to ten days. The order requires a defendant to refrain from abusing or contacting the plaintiff. All types of contact are prohibited, including e-mail, phone, and via third parties. A restraining order may also require the defendant stay away from a plaintiff’s home or workplace. Additionally, a restraining order can grant the plaintiff temporary child custody. If a court issues a temporary restraining order, a defendant must surrender his or her firearms license, and all firearms, to the police.

Upon granting a temporary restraining order, the court schedules a hearing to determine whether a permanent order is appropriate and whether it should grant a permanent restraining order. The hearing must occur prior to the expiration of the ten-day temporary restraining order. When the court issues a temporary restraining order it must notify a defendant of the hearing date. The police will serve a defendant with notice of the temporary restraining order.

When the court issues a temporary restraining order. The police will serve the defendant with notice and the court must notify the defendant of the hearing date. The hearing offers the plaintiff and the defendant the opportunity to show the court whether or not a permanent restraining order should be granted. The defendant is not required to attend this hearing. A court has the ability to grant a permanent restraining order even if the defendant is absent from the hearing As long as the defendant receives notice of the temporary order a plaintiff’s failure to attend the hearing means the temporary restraining order will be dismissed.

If a permanent order is granted, it will contain the same requirements as the temporary restraining order. The permanent restraining order is valid for up to one year. A plaintiff may petition the court at the end of the one-year period to request that the court to continue the restraining order.

A restraining order is valid throughout Massachusetts. Furthermore, while a restraining order is civil in nature, violations of restraining orders are considered criminal offenses. A plaintiff can report a defendant to the police for violating a restraining order.

Clearly, the need for a restraining order does not always coincide with normal court hours. Thus, the statute permits a person to contact the police after hours, on weekends, and on holidays to obtain a restraining order from a judge. This particular type of order expires on the next business day, and the plaintiff must go to court on that day to obtain a ten-day temporary order.

Under the law, “family or household members” include spouses, people who live together, people who are related by blood or marriage, and couples who have a child together. Additionally, a restraining order is available to couples that are in a dating relationship. A court determines whether a dating relationship exists by viewing: (1) the length and type of the relationship; (2) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (3) the amount of time since the termination of the dating relationship.

The statute requires the plaintiff to disclose any other pending actions between the plaintiff and the defendant, such as divorce, child support, or child custody. It does not, however, prevent a plaintiff from seeking any other civil or criminal remedies.

Typically we represent defendants in criminal cases. Restraining order hearings are civil procedures, rather than criminal. However the violation of a restraining order is a criminal case and often the request for a restraining order arises from a situation where one party alleges the the other has a committed a criminal act, i.e. assault and battery, rape, stalking or threats. Therefore, although civil in nature, a party in a restraining order case should give serious consideration to being represented by an attorney with an extensive background in criminal law.

Oftentimes a party in a restraining order case may have a defense against the issuance of a restraining order or in fact may have grounds to obtain a restraining order against the other side. It is important to be represented by knowledgeable restraining order lawyer to insure that all of your rights are fully protected.

If you, or someone you know, is a party in a restraining order case, phone O'Brien Law Boston to speak with a highly experienced Boston, Massachusetts restraining order lawyer seven days a week, toll free at 617-512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential.

Speak with a Boston Restraining Lawyer Now 617-512-0939

To speak with a highly experienced Boston Drunk Driving lawyer, click here, or telephone Francis T. O’Brien, Jr. at O'Brien Law Boston twenty four hours, seven days a week, toll free at 617-512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished will be kept strictly confidential.