Is a No-Contact Order the Same As a Restraining Order in Massachusetts?

Woman holding her her hand up to keep her abuser away in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, a “no contact order” and a “restraining order” refer to similar types of protective orders, but they are used in different contexts. A “no contact order” is often issued in criminal cases and specifically prohibits the defendant from contacting the victim. This can include in-person contact, phone calls, emails, or any form of […]

Are Restraining Orders Public Information in Massachusetts?

Searching files in the public record for a Massachusetts Restraining Order.

In Massachusetts, whether a Restraining Order (also known as a protective order) is public information depends on the type of order issued. Generally, orders issued in cases of domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault are accessible to the public once they are served to the defendant. This includes both temporary and permanent orders. However, the […]

What Is Considered and What Is Not Considered Harassment in Massachusetts?

Judge reading application for a Massachusetts Harassment Prevention Order deciding if there is harassment in this case.

In Massachusetts, harassment is defined under the law as three or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person that are intended to cause fear, intimidation, abuse, or damage to property. Examples include: Threats – Making threats to harm someone physically or ruin their reputation. Stalking – Repeatedly following or watching […]

What Behaviors Are Not Considered Harassment in Massachusetts?

Man and woman arguing at work, but it's not harassment according to Massachusetts law.

Behaviors not considered harassment under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 258E (Harassment Prevention Orders) include: Consensual interactions: Freely agreed upon social interactions without coercion or intimidation. Ordinary conflicts: Everyday disagreements or disputes that do not involve threats or physical harm. Accidental behavior: Actions not intended to cause fear or intimidation. Respectful communication: Exchanges that, while possibly […]

How Many Calls Does it Take to Be Considered Harassment in Massachusetts?

Woman receiving harassing phone calls in Massachusetts.

Generally, harassment is characterized by repeated and unwanted communication that causes distress, intimidation, or fear. In Massachusetts, three or more obscene or annoying phone calls can qualify as harassment. Even a single call can be considered harassment if it involves threats or is part of a broader pattern of behavior. Legal definitions often require a […]

Can you look up a Restraining Order in Massachusetts?

Woman looking up Massachusetts Restraining Orders online.

In Massachusetts, you can look up a Restraining Order, but the specifics depend on whether the order is part of an open court case or a concluded one. Active cases might not have publicly accessible details due to privacy and safety concerns. However, completed cases are typically part of the public court records, which can […]

What Is the Harassment Prevention Law in Massachusetts?

Woman looking at phone containing harassing texts in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, the harassment prevention law is outlined in Chapter 258E. It allows individuals to seek a court-ordered Harassment Prevention Order (HPO), also known as a 258E order. This order can protect you from harassment, stalking, or sexual assault regardless of your relationship with the harasser. To qualify as harassment under this law, the behavior […]

What Is the Abuse Prevention Law in Massachusetts?

Woman with her hands covering her face thinking about the abuse prevention law in Massachusetts.

The abuse prevention law in Massachusetts, known as Chapter 209A, enables victims to seek a court order for protection from abuse. This could be referred to as a 209A order, Restraining Order, Abuse Prevention Order, or protective order. The law provides a range of protections and includes the immediate suspension of the abuser’s firearms license […]

What is a Third-Party Contact Restraining Order in Massachusetts?

One woman whispering to another woman conveying a message.

A Third-Party Contact Restraining Order in Massachusetts is typically part of an Abuse Prevention Order (209A Order) or a Harassment Prevention Order (258E Order) which may require the individual who is the subject of the order to refrain from contacting the victim not only directly but also through third parties. This kind of order is […]

What Is a 209 Violation in Massachusetts?

Police officer placing man in handcuffs for violating a 209A in Massachusetts.

A 209A violation in Massachusetts refers to a breach of a Chapter 209A Abuse Prevention Order, also known as a restraining order. If someone is found guilty of such a violation, they could face up to two and a half years in jail and a fine of up to $5000. Additionally, the offender may be […]