Massachusetts Restraining Order Lawyer
In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, one in three women and one in five men have experienced some form of serious domestic abuse in their life. This includes instances of rape, physical violence, or some form of stalking. Nationally, the statistics are not much better. That said, there are many frivolous or unwarranted restraining orders filed against people on a daily basis, and it is important that these accused individuals have an opportunity to have their side of the story heard and explained clearly in court.
In some cases, a judge can order an emergency restraining order that can take an immediate effect and last for up to 10 days. If you have been served with an emergency order then you will need to attend a hearing where you will be able to offer your perspective and the details about why this order will damage your life unnecessarily. This is when you will be able to request that the order is lifted and blocked. Working with an experienced Massachusetts restraining order attorney can help to significantly increase the odds of your request being granted. Give Brett V. Beaubien Esquire a call to discuss your case today.
How Abuse is Defined For Restraining Orders in Massachusetts
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the court will only issue a restraining order if they find that abuse has occurred. It’s important to note that if a judge is not presented with evidence that abuse has happened, they will not issue an order. In other words, the “burden of proof” is on the petitioner (the person filing for the restraining order). The law defines abuse as the following:
- Making an attempt at or actually causing physical harm
- Creating an environment that causes a fear of imminent physical harm
- Forcing someone to engage in a sexual act involuntarily (this includes threatening, physical force, as well as coercion)
In many cases, the people who file for these protective orders are right to be concerned for their safety. However, there are many other people who are wrongfully served these orders as a result of a disagreement with a partner, parent of a child, family member, or someone else who uses this order as a way to “punish” the person on the receiving end.
Who Is Able To File a Restraining Order in Massachusetts?
Restraining orders in Massachusetts are not applicable to every case that involves abuse. They must meet certain criteria for the courts to grant a 209A Order. Those who are eligible to get a restraining order placed against an abuser must meet one or more of the following qualifications:
- Currently married or were once married to each other
- Currently living together or have lived together in the past
- Have a relationship formed by blood or through marriage
- Parents of the same child
- Currently in serious dating or engagement relationship
If the person who filed the order against you does not fall in the categories mentioned above, then they may be able to file for a harassment prevention order, which is intended to provide similar protections as a full restraining order but can have similarly damaging impacts for someone who has been wrongfully served.
What Does a Restraining Order Do?
Essentially, restraining orders are used to order defendants to immediately cease their acts of abuse and stay away from their victim(s). Learn more about what restraining orders in Massachusetts are intended to accomplish below.
- Order defendants to cease contact with as well as stay away from petitioners (this can include an immediate vacation of a shared residence).
- Potentially award temporary custody of a minor as well as child support.
- Order defendants to compensate their victims for the suffering as well as losses that occurred as a result of the abuse.
- Impound or “hide” pertinent information from the defendant (residence, telephone numbers, etc.).
- Impound any firearm that the defendant owns.
- Order a defendant to attend and complete a batterer intervention course program.
While these orders can have significant benefits for victims of violence and assault, they can also be used as a way to weaponize the Massachusetts court system for inappropriate purposes.
Fighting a Restraining Order in Massachusetts
If you believe that you have been wrongfully served a restraining order, then it is absolutely essential that you work with an experienced Massachusetts restraining order lawyer who is ready to take your case to court and be sure that your story is heard and understood.
The case is typically heard within 10 days of the filing. However, a judge may grant an emergency restraining order until the case is heard (if ample evidence of imminent danger is provided). If the court grants the protective order, they will then define what actions must be taken by the defendant and how long the order lasts. Restraining orders in Massachusetts can be extended.
Contact our experienced restraining orders attorney in Massachusetts at Brett V. Beaubien Esquire to get a better understanding of how we can help you fight back against this order. Even in situations where it seems to be very clear that the evidence is incorrect or the order was unlawfully filed, you may be surprised at how complicated the courts can be when dealing with these issues.
Working With a Massachusetts Restraining Orders Attorney
Protecting yourself from a wrongfully-filed restraining order can be stressful, scary, and confusing. Working with a Massachusetts restraining order defense attorney can help to ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps, following the right procedures, and presenting the court with enough evidence to increase the likelihood of your request for dissolving the order being granted. You can handle this process on your own, but you may increase the risk of having your argument denied.
If you are in need of help building a clear argument against a restraining order, give Brett V. Beaubien Esquire a call to discuss your case. It is our goal to make sure that each of our clients has a chance to make their circumstances clear during a hearing, and avoid the long-term impacts that a restraining order will have on their life. An improperly filed order can cause serious damage to someone’s private and professional life.