Restraining And Protective Orders

If you are a victim of harassment, physical or emotional abuse, or are being threatened with physical harm, there are many legal mechanisms available to protect you depending on your specific situation. If the abuse is incident to the breakdown of a marriage, there are additional laws available to protect you and all avenues should be carefully considered and contemplated to determine the best course of action. Contact Nicole C. Armstrong to determine which method is the most appropriate one for your situation.

If you have been served with any kind of restraining/protective order, contact Nicole C. Armstrong to assist you in defending against the extension of that order. An order, even if subsequently vacated, remains on your permanent record. Unfortunately, it is all too common for people who are in the midst of a divorce to obtain a restraining order as a means of retaliation or strategic advantage. It is important that the matter be taken care of appropriately in the first instance as there are severe complications that can arise from the extension of such and order, including damaging your access to your children and jeopardizing your employment.

Restraining orders are civil in nature, but any violation is subject to an immediate arrest and criminal penalties (up to 2 ½ years in prison and up to $5,000.00 in court costs and fines). Innocuous actions can place you in jeopardy for a violation of a restraining order - sending flowers, emailing/texting, appearing at your child's school and relaying messages through a third party, even if it is to tell the person you still love them.

Nicole C. Armstrong has successfully represented both men and women in obtaining and vacating restraining/protective orders. Contact her to assist you with a protective order.

Protection from Abuse

The most common type of protective order in Massachusetts is pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 209A; which can be obtained if the two parties are or were "family or household members" and the other party has caused you, attempted to cause you, or has placed you in fear of physical harm. In addition to the order mandating that the other party not abuse you, the order also typically prohibits any kind of contact and mandates that the other party stay away from you. You can obtain a restraining order from either your local District Court or Probate and Family Court. If it is off hours, your local police department can facilitate a protective order; however, it will only be good for a short period of time sufficient to afford you the opportunity to seek an order from a local Court.

A restraining order is typically obtained ex parte (without notice to the other side), however in such circumstances, you will be required to return to the Court within ten (10) days to have a full hearing where the other side has the opportunity to present their case. Once an order is obtained, you will need to bring it to your local police department so that they can facilitate service on the other side and escort that person out of the home if necessary.

If you are married and suffer from severe emotional abuse, you may be eligible for protection pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 208 § 18 or 208 § 34B.

Protection from Harassment

On February 9, 2010, the legislature passed a new law that allows victims of harassment to seek a protective order pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 258E. If you are a victim of harassment, you can obtain a harassment prevention order from your local district court.

You may qualify for a harassment prevention order if there are 3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at you and committed with the intent to and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse, or damage to property.

Under 258E, the Court can order the other party to refrain from abusing or harassing you, contacting you, and stay away from your household or workplace.

Contact our Middlesex County Restraining Order lawyer at Armstrong Law, P.C., by calling 978-614-0965 or sending an email.