Arrested in Massachusetts for Violating a Harassment Order?
Massachusetts recently passed a law allowing for Harassment Order, which is a different type of abuse protection order from a restraining order.
What is a Harassment Order?
It is the same in every practical respect as a restraining order, except that a harassment order allows for restrictions on contact from someone who is not a relative or someone with whom you have a domestic relationship.
A Harassment Order Violation is when you violate the terms of a 209a civil court document restricting all contact with another party. A harassment order is also known as an abuse prevention order, protective/protection order. Court officers refer to them as a “209A”, which is the Massachusetts General Law statute chapter number.
You can be arrested and accused of being in violation of a harassment order for many different kinds of incidental, passive, or accidental contact, including:
- if the person claims that you drove by his or her house, even if you live in the neighborhood;
- if the person believes you were near his or her car;
- the person believes that you called and hung up;
- if the person initiates contact with you.
So it is clear that harassment orders can be used in ways that are vindictive to deliberately get you in trouble.
Massachusetts Harassment Order Penalties
Violating the terms of a harassment order in Massachusetts is a serious offense that can carry a penalty of up to 2 1/2 years in jail, and/or a $5000 fine.
Most of the time the penalty for violation of a 209a is a fine and taking a domestic abuse, batterer’s intervention, or anger management class.
Fighting a Harassment Order Violation
There are also a number of other arguments to be made depending on the facts of the case and what it is alleged that you actually may have done. It is difficult to summarize the possible defense options since the circumstances are often quite unique to any individual case.
I know an accusation of the offense of violation of a harassment order is an emotionally charged situation. That is why you need a dispassionate lawyer on your side to help you sort out the facts from the nonsense, and focus on exactly what matters: protecting your rights in court. And the earlier I get involved, the more options I have in court to stop the case from spiraling out of control.
If you are charged with a harassment order violation, restraining order, protective order, abuse preemption order, or 209a, or another criminal offense, call me now to discuss your case.
Find out for yourself exactly what I can do to help you out of a difficult situation. There is no obligation for our initial consultation.