Fighting a Restraining Order

Do you have a restraining order or a harassment order, but you don’t think it is fair?  You have reason to be concerned.

Criminal Charge in Massachusetts? Call Attorney Russell Matson at (781) 817-6332.

If someone has taken out a restraining order against you (a 209A in Massachusetts), it is almost like having a criminal record. If the police run your name, it shows up on you record. You are also part of a national criminal database, which can be difficult to remove, even after the restraining order has expired.

You should consider any possible options to contest the restraining order, and fight to have it removed before it does any damage to your career or reputation.

How Restraining Orders Work in Massachusetts

The Police just served me with a restraining order. What do I do?

Restraining Orders are granted when one party in a domestic relationship (partner, roommate, spouse, former spouse, parent, child, blood relative) applies to the Probate and Family Court, District Court, or Superior Court for an order of protection.

If you are served with one, do not contact the person who requested and received the order. Call our office to speak with us to develop a strategy, and a way to defend yourself to get this order dismissed.

I know if I just talk to my former girlfriend I can get her to change her mind, can’t I do that?


Restraining orders are granted ex parte, which means the order was obtained by the plaintiff without your participation or input.  However, violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense, even if your contact is merely a phone call and not threatening in nature.

But I didn’t do anything! How could the court make this order?

The person requesting the order submits an Affidavit and testimony to the court that they are in fear for their physical safety based on some sort of interaction with you.

If the judge believes that there is sufficient reason to issue a protective he/she will do so. You, the opposing party, will have the opportunity to present your side of the story to the court at the next hearing, which occurs within 10 business days.

It doesn’t matter if it was issued unfairly. If you violate it, you could cause yourself serious problems.

My ex-wife got a restraining order against me, but then called me to “talk about things”.  Should I call her back?

NO. Even if the other party initiates contact, a Restraining Order generally orders that you have no contact with the other party and you should abide by the order until you go back to court and a judge orders otherwise.

I was at a local restaurant and saw my wife there. What should I do?

LEAVE the restaurant.

I asked my friend to call my ex-wife just to be sure that she and the kids are OK.

If the restraining order tells you not to contact the other party, any contact would be considered a violation, including third party contact.  You cannot direct others to contact the opposing party for you.

What happens after I am served with the Restraining Order?

You will have an opportunity to defend yourself at the “10-Day Hearing”. That is your opportunity to tell the judge what your side of the story is.  At that time, the judge will either extend the order if the judge believes what the plaintiff is saying is true or dismiss the order if the judge believes there is no justification to keep the order in place.

Does the restraining order appear on my CORI?

No.  The restraining order is a civil case, and will appear on one’s CARI (Court Activity Record Information).

However, violation of a restraining order is considered a criminal act and that could result in the case appearing on your CORI. Also, restraining order information is shared in local, state, and federal law enforcement databases.

If you are served with a restraining order it is very important to seek out legal advice to see what your rights are and how to defend your case.

I also received a criminal citation that says I assaulted my former girlfriend. We just had a lover’s quarrel – what do I do? I never touched her.

You do not have to have physical contact in order for the case to rise to the level of an assault case.  Make sure that you sign the citation and return it to the court listed on it within four days.

Your case will be scheduled for a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing and you will have the opportunity to present your case.

Our office has an excellent success rate with this type of case, so we can help you.

(781) 817-6332

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