What is a 209A Order in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts a  209A order is a type of protective order, also known as a restraining order, intended to protect a person from abuse by a family or household member, or from someone with whom they’ve had an intimate relationship. It differs slightly from a restraining order in that it provides protection from “domestic” abusers, whereas a restraining order serves to protect an individual from any random person, such as a neighbor.

Also known as an Abuse Prevention Order, 209A protective orders do more than just “restrain” an abuser. It is considered a civil case when one person files a 209A protective order against another person. It is not a criminal charge, therefore, no arrests will be made and no fines will be imposed. Instead, the individual accused of abuse will be ordered by the court to avoid doing certain things, such as calling, emailing, or coming to the accuser’s home or place of employment. If, however, the person ignores these orders and continues the abuse, he or she may be in violation of the protective order. This is a crime and may result in arrest and the filing of criminal charges. A violation can result in up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If a 209A protective order has been filed against you, contact a Boston defense attorney today.

Ex Parte

Both parties need not be present to obtain a 209A protective order. The order can be issued ex parte, which means only the accuser must appear before the judge. If the judge feels confident that a domestic relationship existed between the two parties, and that the accuser fears imminent harm, the judge will issue a temporary order. This order is good for up to ten days, at which point a full hearing will be conducted. If a 209A protective order is issued at the hearing, it can be in effect for up to one year. At the full hearing, the person being accused of abuse can, and should, be present; this hearing is the accused’s only opportunity to oppose the order.

Consequences of a 209A Protective Order

If a 209A protective order has been filed against you, it’s important to be aware of the many consequences involved. In addition to fines and possible jail time for violating any part of the order, the order will appear on your criminal record. This is true even when no violations occur. If you have a gun license, you will be ordered to turn any firearms into law enforcement. A 209A protective order can also have a severely negative impact on divorce and child custody proceedings. It is crucial that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer the moment you learn a 209A protective order has been filed against you. Abuse and restraining orders are not to be taken lightly. If the order was issued based on a lie, a skilled attorney may help you get it expunged from your record. Contact a MA defense attorney today.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving All of MA

If you are at the receiving end of a 209A protective order, or any other type of restraining order or abuse prevention order, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We understand that mistakes happen. It is our goal to protect your reputation, rights, and freedom. Our knowledgeable lawyers will analyze the details of your case to determine the most effective strategy for moving forward. With more than 50 years’ experience in all areas of criminal defense, we know how to position clients for the most favorable outcome possible. If you’ve been charged with any type of offense, from misdemeanor to felony, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.



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