Even though violating a restraining order in Massachusetts may technically be a misdemeanor, the courts take these violations very seriously. Seriously. Restraining orders are considered a way to prevent a more severe crime. They are commonly used in domestic violence situations, violent disputes, and primarily in most cases where one person is fearful of another.
The court put a restraining order in place to prevent you (as the defendant) from contacting the other person in any manner, shape, or form. It may also grant temporary custody for your children to your spouse (if she is the petitioner), evict you from your home, and confiscate any firearms you possess.
These orders will commonly remain on your permanent record.
Most restraining order violations in Boston are currently acted upon as a criminal offense. If you violate the terms of a restraining order, a judge could sentence you to a maximum of two and a half years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. So, under no circumstances should you take this matter lightly, as your freedom may depend on it.
The exact punishment you will receive depends on various circumstances but is based primarily on why the order was initially issued in the first place. The judge may also consider the allegations and specifics of the violation, any other criminal record you may have, as well as a thorough assessment of the threat you present to the other person.
The Boston judge will, most likely, evaluate the extent to which you violated the order and what your actual intent was in doing so.
Situations where you intend to intimidate the other person are taken extremely seriously by the court. Still, if you violated the order by only a few feet, you may get off more lightly.
These decisions are often discretionary, and judges’ opinions on the matter may play a role in the outcome. This is a primary reason that an experienced restraining order violation lawyer’s services can help prevent arbitrary decisions and keep you out of jail.
Suppose you have had a restraining order brought against you. In that case, you must contact us to have one of our experienced Boston restraining order lawyers review the order and offer you counsel on how to best move forward.
What Are Some Of The Key Points That Constitute a Restraining Order Violation?
In most cases of restraining order violations, the following circumstances must occur if you are to be convicted of a restraining order violation:
- The Boston court must have issued a proper restraining order under Massachusetts laws and guidelines.
- The restraining order was in effect when the alleged infringement occurred and had not expired or been withdrawn.
- You were aware the restraining order was in effect at the time of the violation.
- You failed to follow the conditions of the restraining order and contacted, abused, failed to leave your home, or failed to stay away from the victim as the order demanded.
Your experienced, and knowledgeable Boston restraining order criminal defense lawyer, will be sifting through all the details of your case (and charges) about the violation and fight to make sure your rights are protected.
What Are The Types of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts?
Restraining orders are most put into place in cases involving abuse or harassment, which provide two means for legal protection: Abuse Prevention Orders and Harassment Prevention Orders.
A Boston judge may use an “Abuse Prevention Order” in a situation where you have a specific relationship with the abusive person. This situation could include a family member, spouse, even an intimate partner, or someone who lives with you. An abuse prevention order could be put into place when your abuser has:
- Caused or attempted to cause you serious physical harm.
- Make you fear that impending severe and imminent physical may occur.
- Forced you in some manner into having sex.
A “Harassment Prevention Order” usually is not limited to a specific type of relationship. This order can be used because of harassment and could include the following acts:
- Another person has committed three or more willful, malicious acts against you which were meant to cause you fear, intimidation, abuse, or damage to your property.
- The other person has forced you into having sex at least once.
- The other persona has committed the following crimes against you at least one time: indecent assault and battery, rape, statutory rape, assault with intent to rape, criminal stalking, criminal harassment, enticement of a child, or drugging for sexual intercourse.
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, both types of restraining orders can inflict extreme consequences on you if they are violated. It’s always in your best interests to consult with a Boston criminal lawyer if you ever feel that you have broken a restraining order and may have put yourself in jeopardy.
What Should I Do Immediately If I Am Served With a Restraining Order?
First, and a key point to remember is If you get served with a restraining order, be respectful to the police, as they are only doing their job; any problems will make your situation worse.
If you are being evicted from your home due to the order, you will only have a brief time to grab some personal things. Take anything needed with you, such as medications, laptops, cell phones, chargers, etc. You will not have an immediate chance to return. Contact the person who filed the protective order against you.
Block them from your phone and all your social media accounts, and stay as far away from them as possible, as even an accidental call might land you in jail.
Then contact your Boston restraining order lawyer, and they will obtain all the information you need, and you both usually will appear in court in a few days.
I Have Been Accused of Violating A Restraining Order; How Should I Proceed?
You now know that violating a restraining order in Boston can be a criminal offense, and your violation demands immediate professional attention. It could be a simple mistake, or worse, but any violation could send you to jail. The Toland Law Firm has a winning record of aggressively and successfully representing Massachusetts clients in these cases.
They will obtain all the details of your case and mount the best defense possible to protect your rights and freedom. Consult with them today, and they will help you keep your freedom tomorrow.