Family members and romantic partners can inspire strong emotions in people. Unfortunately, not all of these emotions are positive, and when parties argue or become estranged, negative reactions can lead to inappropriate behavior. Some arguments result in threats or abuse, causing the victim to seek intervention from the courts in the form of a restraining order to prevent further harm. In other instances, though, people will vindictively seek restraining orders based on false allegations. If you or a loved one need assistance obtaining or objecting to a restraining order, it is critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The capable Boston criminal defense attorneys at Koufman Law Group have ample experience navigating the legal and emotional complexities that can arise in restraining order proceedings, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you seek a fair outcome. Our office is in Boston, and we represent people in restraining order hearings in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.Grounds for Issuing Restraining Orders in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, a restraining order, also known as a 209A order, is a court order granted to protect a victim of abuse from further harm. For purposes of restraining orders, abuse encompasses attempts or acts of physical harm, instilling fear of imminent serious physical harm, or coercing sexual relations through force, threat, or duress.
People can seek restraining orders against current or former members of their family or household who are abusive, which includes spouses, ex-spouses, roommates, or former roommates, co-parents, blood relatives, and in-laws
The purpose of a restraining order is to shield the plaintiff from further abuse. As such, the courts can impose various restrictive measures via restraining orders, including ordering the defendant to leave a shared residence and prohibiting them from contacting or being in close proximity to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s workplace or children. Restraining orders can also direct defendants to provide financial support or compensation to the plaintiff for expenses incurred due to the abuse. Restraining orders can require the defendant to surrender any firearms in their possession and to participate in a batterer's treatment program as well.
Moreover, the issuance of a restraining order enters the defendant's name into a Statewide Registry of Civil Restraining Orders, which can have repercussions on future employment prospects. Additionally, violating a restraining order is a criminal offense that can lead to an arrest and conviction, even if the violation was unintentional.Obtaining a Restraining Order in Massachusetts
The courts will only grant a restraining order against a defendant if the plaintiff establishes that the defendant either caused or attempted to cause the plaintiff physical harm, instilled fear of imminent serious physical harm in the plaintiff, or used force, threat, or duress to coerce the plaintiff into sexual relations. Evidence used to demonstrate such acts can include eyewitness testimony, emails, voicemails and text messages, medical records, police reports, and photographs of injuries.
The defense strategy against a person seeking such an order depends on the unique circumstances of the case. If the defendant suspects that the petitioner is seeking the order to gain an advantage in a family law case or for other malevolent purposes, it is advisable to argue against the petitioner's entitlement to a restraining order. Evidence that the plaintiff attempted to contact the defendant or behaved without fear can undermine their claims as well. Conversely, if the plaintiff has a history of being abusive, the defendant should present old or current restraining orders, along with medical records, police reports, photographs, or witnesses documenting past abuse.Meet With a Knowledgeable Boston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you want to discuss whether you may be able to obtain a restraining order or you received notice that someone is attempting to obtain a restraining order against you, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your options. The knowledgeable Boston criminal defense lawyers of Koufman Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to obtain a favorable outcome in restraining order cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our office is in Boston, and we regularly represent people in restraining order cases in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 617-423-2212 to set up a confidential conference.