If a domestic partner believes you threatened to harm him or her, you may be facing a restraining order. If you are in possession of one, you need to understand what it means and what activities you need to refrain from.
If you violate the restraining order in any way, you can face stiff penalties.
Emergency vs regular order
To obtain a restraining order, the person feeling threatened files a petition with the court, which will schedule a hearing within 14 days. At the hearing, both the alleged victim and the alleged abuser have a chance to state their cases.
According to the Massachusetts Government, the alleged victim can request an emergency restraining order if there is a perceived immediate or serious risk. If issued, this order is often in effect for 72 hours, although the court may extend the effectiveness until the hearing date.
Terms of a restraining order
Whether it is an emergency or official order, the judge outlines restrictions for the defendant, which aim to protect the alleged victim. The orders may include:
- Custody of children given temporarily to alleged victim
- Defendant must have no contact with petitioner
- Defendant must stay away from petitioner’s place of work, school or home
- Defendant may not purchase or carry licensed firearms
- No threat or act of abuse by defendant
Penalties for order violation
If you violate any of the order’s terms, you can face immediate arrest. FindLaw states that you could face both criminal conviction and civil contempt conviction. Potential penalties may be jail time, fines or both. If there was any involvement of drugs or alcohol, the judge may also require the completion of a treatment program.