What Happens if Someone Violates a Restraining Order in MA?

Cop arresting man for violating a restraining order in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, violating a restraining order, also known as a 209A order, is a criminal offense. Upon violation, the offender can be arrested without a warrant if there’s probable cause to believe the order was violated. Penalties for violating a restraining order in MA include up to 2.5 years in jail, fines up to $5,000, or both. Additionally, the violation may lead to changes in the terms of the restraining order, making them more restrictive. Each violation is treated separately, meaning repeated violations can result in increasingly severe penalties.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order in Massachusetts is a legal order issued by a court to protect individuals from being abused, threatened, or harassed. It is a civil order that carries criminal penalties for violations. It’s important to understand that a restraining order violation is not merely a breach of civil protocol but a criminal offense. This includes any contact, whether a phone call, text message, or an appearance at a protected party’s place of work or home.

Legal Implications of a Violation

Violating a restraining order, also known as a 209A order or a protective order, can result in immediate arrest and criminal charges. It’s important to comprehend that even seemingly minor order violations—like sending an email—can lead to serious consequences. This is why legal representation is critical in navigating the complexities of Massachusetts law, especially if the alleged violation was unintended or a result of false accusations.

Consequences of a Restraining Order Violation

The consequences of a restraining order violation can be severe. If you’re found to have violated an abuse prevention order, the court may impose jail time up to two and a half years, substantial fines, or both. Remember, a violation of this order not only affects your freedom but also leaves a mark on your criminal record, which can have lasting repercussions on your employment and housing opportunities.

The Legal Process Following
a Violation

Should you be accused of a restraining order violation, the legal process will commence swiftly. Law enforcement will get involved, and you could find yourself in a district court facing a criminal defense case. At this juncture, it’s in your best interest to have a criminal defense lawyer by your side to dissect police reports and present evidence in your favor, aiming to establish reasonable doubt.

Complying With
Restraining Orders

Compliance is paramount. Not only does this ensure your legal safety, but it also aids in maintaining the integrity of any ongoing or future court proceedings you may be involved in, such as those pertaining to family court or child support. Understanding the terms of the restraining order, down to the last detail, is in your best interest.

Accusations of Violation:
Steps to Take

If you face accusations of a restraining order violation, it’s essential to act right away. Contacting an attorney should be your first step. As an experienced, affordable attorney, I am adept at handling sensitive information and can guide you through the entire process, from responding to the criminal complaint to representing you in court.

Strategies to Avoid Violation

We can discuss strategies to prevent accidental violations, such as documenting your whereabouts and maintaining distance from the protected party. Mutual restraining orders and harassment prevention orders require equal vigilance to avoid unintentional breaches, which we can also prepare for.

Defense in Restraining Order Violation Cases

Defending against allegations of a restraining order violation involves a careful legal process. A criminal defense attorney can challenge the prosecution’s claims, negotiate with district attorneys, and argue for the dismissal of charges or reduced penalties. We’ll also address any false restraining order claims and ensure your side of the story is heard. Sometimes, the trustworthiness of your accuser can be an issue. For example, they may be using this allegation that you violated the order to get the upper hand in another legal matter, such as child custody.

The Importance of Experienced, Affordable Legal Representation

When facing allegations of violating an abuse prevention order, it’s important to have someone in your corner, but sometimes money is an issue. At Afford Law, our fees are based on your income, so the less you earn, the less you pay. We try to make ourselves as affordable as possible to as many people as possible.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the aftermath of a restraining order violation is challenging and full of anxiety. But with the right guidance and a clear understanding of your rights, you can get through this situation and back to your life.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

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