Justice for You

Restraining Orders & 209A Violations

In Massachusetts, once a restraining order, also known as a Chapter 209(A), is in place it takes very little action and only minimal contact by the Defendant to violate an order. Failure to quickly address a restraining order can often lead to substantial future legal and professional difficulty.

The person requesting a restraining order only needs to state that they fear for their safety, they do not need to have any evidence or proof that for the order to be issued by a court. And temporary or emergency orders can be issued without the Defendant even knowing that they are in place.

Any contact between the person who requested the order and the person named in the order is a violation. This includes direct contact such as walking into a restaurant where the other party is eating and it can include indirect contact such as calling, emailing, sending gifts or flowers. Even sending messages through a third party or showing up to the persons work place and causing a scene- even if they are not there- can be a violation of a restraining order.

The penalties for breaking a restraining order include jail time-up to 2½ years and fines as high as $5,000. As soon as the police are informed that a restraining order may have been broken and if there is probable cause, the police must arrest the person breaking the order.

Often a restraining order is taken out after a domestic dispute or altercation. Charges of domestic violence should never be taken lightly, for they can appear on the defendant's permanent record and, in turn, jeopardize his or her future.

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the unrestricted use of 209(A)s, and for good cause. 209(A)s are often used by angry spouses when divorces have turned malicious or by angry ex-spouses when child support or visitation is at issue. A 209(A) is sometimes used as a tactic to prevent involved parents from being a part of their child's lives.

Finding good legal representation is the first step in ensuring your reputation and future after you’ve had a restraining order issued against you. The attorneys at Mannion & Associates are experienced and effective and can help you navigate the court system and protect your future.