Restraining & Harassment Order Attorney

A restraining order, often referred to in Massachusetts as an “abuse prevention order” or “209A order,” may be requested against someone with whom the plaintiff (person seeking the order) has a specific type of relationship – i.e. family, dating or intimate, or residential. Otherwise, a harassment prevention order (discussed below) may be more appropriate. The person against whom the order is sought is referred to as the defendant.

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Restraining Orders

A plaintiff seeking such an order must “prove abuse by fear of imminent serious physical harm.” This can be established by sworn testimony that the defendant: harmed or attempted to harm the plaintiff physically; caused the plaintiff fear that they will likely be physically harmed; or forced the plaintiff to have sex or threatened the plaintiff to have sex.

In order to obtain a 209A order, a plaintiff must first apply for a temporary order, ex parte, meaning without the defendant present. After filing out an application and a sworn statement, a judge will review the statement, ask the plaintiff questions and determine whether the plaintiff has met his/her burden. If the plaintiff has, the judge will then issue a temporary 10-day order and schedule a two-party hearing where both the plaintiff and the defendant can address the court. Both sides may be represented by counsel at this hearing.  The Court will hear oral testimony under oath and consider any other evidence presented. The Court will then determine whether the plaintiff has met his/her burden for a permanent order and can grant the order for up to one year.

Restraining orders may be viewed by an employer or other organization on a CORI/CARI. Any alleged violation of a restraining order can result in criminal charges. With so much at stake, you should retain counsel to represent you at such a hearing.

If you need assistance obtaining or defending against a restraining order, call or email McCormack Law today for more information.

Harassment Prevention Orders

A harassment prevention order, also referred to as a “HPO” or “258E order,” may be issued to any person if he/she can prove a pattern of harassment by the defendant. This requires proving, by sworn testimony or other evidence, either

  1. that the defendant has engaged in harassment because they have engaged in three or more acts that were willful and malicious; were specifically aimed at the plaintiff; and were intended to cause the plaintiff fear, intimidation, abuse, or damage to property; OR
  2. the defendant forced the plaintiff to have sex or threatened the plaintiff into having sex at least once; OR
  3. the defendant has committed one of the following crimes against the plaintiff, at least once: Indecent assault and battery, Rape, Statutory rape, Assault with intent to rape, Enticement of a child, Criminal stalking, Criminal harassment, or Drugging for sexual intercourse

Just like a restraining order, the plaintiff must first apply for a temporary order, ex parte, meaning without the defendant present. After submitting an application and a sworn statement, a judge will review the statement, ask the plaintiff questions and determine whether the plaintiff has met his/her burden. If the plaintiff has, the judge will then issue a temporary order and schedule a two-party hearing where both the plaintiff and the defendant can address the court. Both sides may be represented by counsel at this hearing.  The Court will hear oral testimony under oath and consider any other evidence presented. The Court will then determine whether the plaintiff has met his/her burden for a permanent order and can grant the order for up to one year.

Harassment orders may be viewed by an employer or other organization on a CORI/CARI. Any alleged violation of a harassment order can result in criminal charges. With so much at stake, you should retain counsel to represent you at such a hearing.

If you need assistance obtaining or defending against a harassment prevention order, call or email McCormack Law today for more information.

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