Restraining Order Guide

In the state of Massachusetts, domestic violence is considered to be a serious offense. In many cases where the police is called to the scene of a domestic dispute, the local district attorney may press charges on one or both parties even if the parties themselves opt not to do so. Often in cases of domestic abuse, the abused party may choose to have a restraining order, protective order, harassment protection order, or abuse protection order to stop the offending party from having further contact with them. If you have been the victim of an abusive situation where a restraining order was issued, or if you have had a restraining order taken out against you, Boston Attorney Doug Lovenberg can help.

What Defines Abuse?

In order for someone to be issued a restraining order, there has to have been an accusation of abuse. The Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act states than an abuse which happens more than one time between two family members, or member of a household, constitutes abuse worthy of a protection order or restraining order. Here is the state’s definition of abuse:

  • Rape, or forcing another member of the household or family to engage in a sexual act.
  • Threatening another member of the household or family with physical harm.
  • Attempting to physically abuse another household member or family member, or succeeding in the physical abuse.

According to this act, the definition of “household member or family member” is as follows:

  1. People who are related to the accused abuser by blood.
  2. Someone who the accused abuser has dated.
  3. A person who was, or still is related to the alleged abuser by marriage.
  4. The accused abuser’s current or former spouse.
  5. The other parent of the accused abuser’s child(ren).

It is important to remember that in Massachusetts, a restraining order is only considered to be a civil complaint, which will only become a criminal status if the order is ignored. In the state of Massachusetts, there are two different kinds of restraining orders. One is called a “No Contact Order,” and states that the person or persons involved are to have no contact. There is also a “No Abuse Order” given to those who live in the same household. If you or someone you love has been the victim of such an abuse from one of these “household members” or “family members,” and wishes to  obtain a restraining order, Boston Lawyer Doug Lovenberg can help.