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Middlesex County Domestic Violence Restraining Order Violation Attorney

The statutory penalties for assault and battery are the same whether the alleged victim is your longtime spouse or a total stranger. However, domestic assault charges are unique in a number of ways. Massachusetts recently passed a new law that makes it easier for judges to hold domestic violence defendants without bail. There is also now a state database that includes the name of every person charged with domestic violence in Massachusetts.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, Attorney Chris Spring will work to get your case dismissed. If the Commonwealth does press charges — with or without the victim’s consent — Attorney Spring will aggressively defend your rights from the arraignment through the jury trial.

Massachusetts Domestic Abuse Defense Attorney

Domestic assault is an assault against a spouse or live-in partner, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a sibling, a parent or another member of the household. Simple assault is conduct that puts someone in fear of bodily harm, such as a verbal threat or a menacing gesture. Assault and battery is actual physical contact. In the context of domestic violence, this could be punching or kicking, a slap or a shove, or grabbing someone by the arm.

Assault and battery is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction. If the victim was pregnant, elderly, or suffered a serious injury, the charges may be enhanced to aggravated assault and battery, which carries a sentence of up to five years in state prison. Attorney Spring recognizes that any jail time is a hardship and that a domestic violence conviction has collateral consequences involving child custody, employment, and education.

Former Prosecutor on Your Side

Attorney Spring is a former Middlesex County assistant district attorney who prosecuted hundreds of domestic violence cases while serving in the District Attorney’s Office. Since founding Spring & Spring, he has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with violating the domestic violence laws. The following information may be relevant to your case:

  • Under Massachusetts law, one spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other. The Commonwealth will not necessarily dismiss the case if a spouse refuses to testify, but it makes the allegations harder to prove.
  • In the vast majority of domestic assault cases, the alleged victim was involved in the altercation in some way, by either initiating physical contact or fighting back. The alleged victim can invoke his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, which weakens the prosecution’s case.
  • If the case goes to trial, Attorney Spring will work with you to present the most compelling defense to the jury, which might include self-defense, mutual combat, unintentional contact, bias (motive to lie) or defense of another person.

Abuse Prevention Orders (Restraining Orders)

Any alleged victim of domestic violence (plaintiff) can go to court and ask a judge to issue a restraining order against the alleged abuser (defendant). Ordinarily, a 10-day restraining order is issued by the court, which typically forbids the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim or the children. The defendant will be notified of the temporary order and given a hearing date within the 10 days to determine if the abuse prevention order should be continued for one year. Attorney Spring has extensive experience in representing defendants at these hearings to argue against imposition of the permanent order.

Violation of an abuse prevention order is a serious crime, punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in jail. The penalties are enhanced if the order was violated in conjunction with an allegation of stalking. The law exists to protect victims from further abuse, but sometimes the plaintiff seeks the order not for protection, but for revenge against the defendant or for an advantage in family court proceedings.

Types of Restraining Orders

In Massachusetts, there are a few different types of restraining orders. You may encounter one or more types if you are involved in a domestic violence dispute. Your spouse or someone else in your household can seek legal protection from the courts with three types of protection measures:

  1. Abuse Prevention Order (209A Order). This type of order protects the petitioner from physical or sexual abuse from a relative or household member. It protects against harm or the threat of harm caused by force by ordering the defendant to refrain from contacting, abusing and living with the petitioner. A 209A Order also has the power to award the petitioner temporary custody of a minor child.
  2. Harassment Prevention Order (258E Order). This type of restraining order specifically protects against harassment. Someone is eligible to request this order if he or she has proof that a defendant committed three or more willful and malicious acts that were intended to (and did) cause fear, intimidation, property damage or abuse.
  3. Emergency Protective Order. If a plaintiff believes a delay in obtaining a protective order would place him, her or a loved one in immediate, serious risk of harm, that person can seek an Emergency Protective Order. This order may be granted if the plaintiff can show that his or her life, immediate health or welfare are in danger. An Emergency Protective Order in Massachusetts is valid for 72 hours but can be extended by the court.

An experienced attorney can defend you in a case involving any type of abuse prevention order. This includes a temporary or permanent order. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after discovering that someone in your family or household plans to pursue a restraining order against you. An attorney can help you fight the order and protect your legal rights.

How a Middlesex County Criminal Restraining Order Attorney Can Help

It is important to hire a lawyer if someone is attempting to bring a restraining order against you, as this can affect many of your rights and freedoms. You may have trouble crossing the border and traveling, for example, as well as finding a job or housing with a restraining order on your record. At Spring & Spring, we can represent you if you wish to defend yourself against a criminal restraining order.

Our attorneys can argue against the need for a restraining order in a domestic violence or abuse case if the order has been sought out of revenge or for a frivolous reason. We can appear at the restraining order hearing on your behalf. If you are accused of violating an abuse prevention order, our lawyers can also help. We can prepare a defense that aims to protect you from the most serious penalties associated with restraining order violations.

What to Do If Someone Seeks a Restraining Order Against You

In many cases, a plaintiff in Massachusetts will seek a temporary restraining order in a domestic violence or abuse case. As the defendant named on the order, this will immediately restrict your contact with the petitioner, as well as take away child custody or visitation. A hearing to pursue a permanent restraining order will usually follow.

Take the following steps to protect your legal rights from the very beginning of your restraining order defense case:

  1. Never ignore a restraining order entered against you. Failing to fulfill your obligations as a defendant could result in serious penalties, including criminal charges, fines and jail time.
  2. Obey the temporary order. You should receive a copy of the restraining order if the courts grant the petitioner’s request. Read the restraining order carefully and immediately comply with its rules, restrictions and requirements.
  3. Do not contact the petitioner. Restraining orders prohibit you from contacting the petitioner through any means. Do not contact the person for any reason, including to try to talk him or her into dropping the order.
  4. Do not try to contact your children. Most restraining orders bar the defendant from any and all contact with minor children. Do not try to work around the order by visiting your children at school or a playground. The petitioner can use this against you during your hearing.
  5. Collect evidence. Do your best to gather any physical evidence that is related to your domestic violence case, especially evidence mentioned specifically in the restraining order petition. This can include emails, text messages, clothing, photos, videos and computer records.
  6. Do not destroy evidence. Do not attempt to destroy any documents, evidence or data you believe could hurt you. This can harm your defense and even lead to criminal charges against you.
  7. Gather eyewitness statements. Collect written and signed statements from any eyewitnesses who were present at the event mentioned in the restraining order petition. Make a list of everyone you believe has information about the incident and accusations.
  8. Contact an attorney. You have the right to legal representation, although you are not entitled to a court-appointed public defender in a restraining order case. Contact an attorney for legal counsel immediately.
  9. Attend your hearing. You have the right to have a court hearing. Your lawyer can help you attend a formal hearing before a judge, which may take place as soon as 7 to 10 days after you receive notice of the hearing. Hiring an attorney decreases the odds of a judge approving a request for a permanent restraining order.
  10. Continue working with your attorney on a resolution. Temporary restraining orders can happen quickly. A hearing for a permanent order, however, will give you enough time to hire an attorney and prepare. After your hearing, continue working with your lawyer if you are also facing domestic violence or abuse charges.

A restraining order attorney in Middlesex County will have the experience and knowledge of the law to help you refute domestic violence accusations and present evidence to support your side of a restraining order hearing. The right lawyer will know the judges and court systems in your area. Being familiar with the sensitivities of the judge presiding over your case can increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Contact Us

Attorney Spring understands the very serious consequences that result from a conviction involving domestic violence. Contact Attorney Spring today to arrange a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Chris Spring will travel to your home to meet with you.