In previous blogs we have discussed the Types of Restraining Orders, how they can be obtained and how they work. Today, let’s take a closer look at what it means if you have a restraining order taken against you. What should you do first and what behaviors should you avoid at all costs? 

What is A Restraining Order?

As a review, a restraining order can be obtained when a victim gives a sworn statement to the police about the actions of the abuser, and then a court issues a restraining order. The court can then order the abuser to do certain things including, stop the abuse, have no contact with the victim, stay away from the home, and/or surrender firearms. (Source – Conway Law) 


What Your First Steps Should Be 

Upon being served a restraining order, one of the first things a defendant should do is to contact an experienced lawyer who can explain the components of the court order and explain any terminology and requirements that are stipulated in the order. They will also contact the courts to confirm any court appointments that may be required.

For instance, a lawyer can help you understand how far away and for how long you must be away from the petitioner and what happens if there are children involved in the relationship. 

A lawyer will also help walk you through the potential court appearances that may be necessary as well as build a defense against any legal action that may also be a part of the order. 


What Not To Do When Served With A Restraining Order 

While it is perfectly natural to feel anger, resentment and frustration when served with a restraining order, it is NEVER a good idea to act on those emotions. 

This means do not call the petitioner, their friends or family to discuss the terms of the order. It is best to avoid these groups of people, including the petitioner all together. Do not skirt around the order as your actions may be used against you in a court of law. 

Most importantly, do not violate any of the conditions of the restraining order as you can go to jail for violating a restraining order in Massachusetts. Should you violate the conditions set up in the order, the petitioner merely needs to alert the police to your violation, whether you are contacting the person or too close to the person, and the authorities will arrest you and let the courts sort out the details. 

Violating a Restraining Order 

Should you violate the restraining order, it is considered a criminal offense in the state of Massachusetts. Should you break the terms of a restraining order, a judge may sentence the individual to a maximum of two and a half years in jail and impose a fine of up to $5,000. 

The individual will also likely be required to complete a batterer’s program, which is a program to intervene in domestic abusers.

For more specific legal information about your restraining order, talk to our team at the Law Office of Patrick Conway and allow us to represent you in this legal matter.