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What Should I Do if I’m Charged with Violating a Restraining Order?

Restraining Order Violation

If you are charged with violating a restraining order, there are defenses that can be argued in court, but hiring a defense attorney is crucial to the success of your case. In most cases, the evidence that someone has violated the terms of a restraining order comes from the testimony of the alleged victim, and if you have an experienced attorney on your side, they can help defend you in court.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a court order, given by a judge that requires you to stay away from the filing party, and prevents you from having any contact with them (in person, via text, phone, etc.).

There are two different types of restraining orders:

  1. 209A Order
    • Only applies to family members (spouses, blood relatives, etc.) or people with whom the person filing have had a significant dating relationship

2.  258E Order (Harassment Prevention Order)

    • Applies to anyone, regardless of their relationship
    • Generally speaking, a Harassment Prevention Order is aimed at preventing stalking, sexual harassment, or further sexual assault against an alleged victim

What are the Possible Consequences if I am Convicted of Violating a Restraining Order?

A violation of a restraining order is a serious charge, and if convicted, it is punishable by up to 2.5 years in jail or a fine of $5,000 and you may also need to complete a batterers program. There are many factors that are considered about whether you will serve jail time if you violate the terms of a restraining order such as what stage the case is at during the time of your violation, what specific portion of the order was violated and to what extent, and your history of compliance with the order.

The charge can also have serious immigration consequences if you are not a citizen.  Additionally, your right to operate a ride-share program such as Uber and Lyft will be immediately suspended upon being charged with a violation of a restraining order.

What are the Defenses?

Violating a 209A or harassment prevention order can have several defenses, and you need a criminal defense attorney to help you.  These defenses include:

  • Invalidity of the underlying restraining order (in rare circumstances)
  • The conduct was not a violation of the order
  • Inadvertent or accidental contact

A restraining order violation is taken very seriously by district attorneys and judges in Massachusetts, so if you’ve been charged with violating a restraining order, it is critical that you hire a skilled defense attorney. I have won several cases of violating a restraining order, both at trial and on pretrial motions.

If you are charged, call or text me today at (617) 295-7500! I have office locations in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts and can also meet with you via Zoom or over the phone.



Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

Boston Attorney

The court system is stressful, whether you’re being charged with a crime, being sued, suing someone, or fighting for your ability to stay and work in this country. You need someone who appreciates this and can dedicate the time not only to represent you effectively in court but to guide you through the process.

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