Chapter 209A and the Effects of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts

What is “Chapter 209A” in Massachusetts?

Restraining orders are called Chapter 209As because Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A is the statute that allows a person to petition for a restraining order to protect him or herself from abuse by a family or household member. According to this law, a person who claims they have been abused by a family or household member can simply file a complaint and ask that a judge hand out a restraining order against another person. Relationships can include current or former spouses, house- or roommates, relatives by blood or marriage, parents of a child, or two people who are now or who have dated seriously or are or were engaged. Abuse is legally defined as physical abuse, an attempt to harm another, causing the fear of serious physical harm in another person, or forcing or threatening to have sexual relations with another person. After reviewing the request, a judge can decide whether or not to issue the restraining order. Once issued, the order bars the person named in the order from abusing, contacting, or remaining in the same house as the person who requested the order.

Chapter 209A is called the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act.

What Does a Massachusetts Restraining Order do?

The restraining order has the capacity to:

  • Prevent the defendant from contacting or interacting with the petitioner
  • Grant temporary custody over any minor children to the petitioner
  • Evict the defendant from the residence shared with the petitioner
  • Confiscate firearms from the defendant
  • Remain on your permanent record

Temporary restraining orders (TRO’s) are lawful orders that prohibit the defendant from contacting or interacting with the plaintiff. TRO’s are generally valid for up to 10 days after issuance upon which a hearing will be held, and the defendant will be notified to be given the opportunity to testify in court. A TRO serves as the first step towards establishing a permanent restraining order that, when violated, will appear on the defendant’s criminal record. Temporary Restraining Order’s can be enforced without the consent or knowledge of the defendant and could even lead to his or her arrest when violated.

Speak With an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199

If you or a loved one have been charged with a restraining order violation, contact our offices at Altman & Altman LLP, 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 toll-free, or contact us online for a free consultation.

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