Restraining Orders


 Massachusetts Restraining Order Attorney


Massachusetts restraining orders are civl in nature and fall under domestic violence laws, specifically under  M.G.L. Chapter 209A. Violations of 209A restaining order are criminal violations and can often lead to jail sentences and/or large fines. Chapt. 209A, Section 4 of the statute states as follows:



"If the plaintiff demonstrates a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse, the court may enter such temporary relief orders without notice as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff from abuse and shall immediately thereafter notify the defendant that the temporary orders have been issued. The court shall give the defendant an opportunity to be heard on the question of continuing the temporary order and of granting other relief as requested by the plaintiff no later than ten court business days after such orders are entered." 



This means that anyone in your household can go down to the court house and file a 209A petition under oath and have you physically removed from the household for a minimum of ten days. After which a hearing will be conducted and a decision will be made by the court whether this temporary order should be made permanent for up to one year. During the 10 day temporary orders you may not contact the petitioner in anyway, this includes phone calls, text messeges, emails, driving past the household or any third party contacts.  You may however be allowed to go back to the home only with a police escort to gather some personal belongings. 



It it very possible you could find yourself on the street or at a hotel wondering what just happened!  Unfortunately,  these petitions are often abused. False allegations are not uncommon so as to secure the residential household, to gain advantages in divorce court or for retribution during a high conflict relationship. Whatever the case may be, rest assured help may be on the way!  It is critical that your hire an expert restraining order defense Attorney Michael St. Louis.  The law offices of Michael R. St. Louis will investigate the circumstances surrounding your case.  Investigating the facts, interviewing witnesses, hiring a private detective and exposing facts may lead to filing of additional counter complaints against the alleged accuser and/or a a dismissal of the charges.


 Case law related to restraining orders



Banna v. Banna, 78 Mass. App. Ct. 34 (2010). "To extend an abuse prevention order, the plaintiff must 'make a showing similar to that of a plaintiff seeking an initial order'... No presumption arises from the fact that a prior order has issued ; it is a plaintiff's burden to establish that the facts that exist at the time extension of the order is sought justify relief."


Commissioner of Probation v. Adams, 65 Mass. App. Ct. 725, 843 NE2d 1101 (2006). In distinguishing this case from Vaccaro, court held that "a judge has the inherent authority to expunge a record of a 209A order from the Statewide domestic violence registry system in the rare and limited circumstance that the judge has found through clear and convincing evidence that the order was obtained through fraud on the court."


Commonwealth v. Raymond, 54 Mass. App. Ct. 488, 766 NE2d 113 (2002). Court held that a defendant cannot be convicted of violating a "no contact" provision under a 209A order where the violation is unknowing, accidental, or inadvertent.


Corrado v. Hedrick, 65 Mass.App.Ct. 477, 841 NE2d 723 (2006). "When, at a contested hearing, a plaintiff fails to prove that "abuse" has occurred, a judge may not continue an ex parte order that directs the defendant to vacate and remain away from the household because of subjective concerns that violence may occur if both remain in the same household."


Fabre v. Walton, 436 Mass.517, 781 NE2d 780 (2002) Walton had obtained and then extended a 209A restraining order against Fabre. Fabre sued, alleging that Walton had obtained the order to harass him, and had not been abused. Walton moved to dismiss the suit. Invoking the Anti-SLAPP statute (c.231 sec.59H), the SJC ruled that Fabre's lawsuit would not be allowed to go forward without a "substantial basis" that the domestic violence claim was "devoid of any reasonable factual support," and that since the order had been extended, the claim must have had some factual support. Clarifying a procedural issue, the court also decided that defendants in such suits have a right to bring an interlocutory appeal to the Appeals Court, "regardless of the court in which the SLAPP suit was brought."


Frizado v. Frizado, 420 Mass. 592, 651 NE2d 1206 (1995) Although the court in Zullo v. Goguen changed the appropriate method of appeal (see below), this case is still helpful for its discussion of the constitutionality of 209A proceedings and the process that should be followed in a 209A hearing.


Szymkowski v. Szymkowski, 57 Mass.App.Ct. 284, 782 NE2d 1085 (2003). A father appealed from a child protection order under ch. 209A. The Appeals Court held that there were "distinct overtones of the use of c. 209A as a weapon in circumstances of reciprocal hostility between divorced parents." While the father's conduct was unacceptable, "c. 209A is not designed as a prod toward better parenting. Rather, the statute, as we have said, aims to prevent physical harm." There are other, more appropriate remedies for poor parenting, and the order was vacated.


Vaccaro v. Vaccaro, 425 Mass. 153, 680 NE2d 55 (1997). Even though a 209A order against him was vacated, a husband could not have record of the order expunged from the domestic abuse registry.


Wooldridge v. Hickey, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 637, 700 NE2d 296 (1998) "Expiration of abuse prevention orders issued against former husband did not render his appeal moot, where entries of the orders were made in the Commonwealth's criminal records system, former husband could be adversely affected by them, and former husband had interest in removing stigma from his name and record by establishing that orders were not lawfully issued."



Other Massachusetts Laws Related to Domestic Violence




Other Federal Laws Related to Domestic Violence






Contact an Expert Restraining Order Attorney

At the Law Offices of Michael R. St. Louis, we are fully prepared to handle your restraining order case. As a leading Boston criminal defense law firm, we can provide you with the legal representation you need to fight and win your case. Call our Law Offices today for your free consultation at 781-816-3950 or contact us online.


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