Domestic violence restraining orders are one of the most common types of charges in Massachusetts. They are also one of the most commonly abused. In 2004, 45,000 domestic restraining orders were sought in Middlesex County. Judges dismissed or vacated more than 35,000 of those orders during the first hearing. We are experienced in obtaining and enforcing orders for protection against abuse, as well as vacating or modifying inappropriate or overbroad restraining orders.
The legal standard in Massachusetts for seeking a restraining order is “imminent fear of bodily harm”. Restraining orders and other forms of protection from Domestic Abuse are critically important and effective in many cases. Our experienced attorneys know how to get effective results to protect victims of domestic violence. However, many times restraining orders are sought not out of fear of bodily harm, but out of spite or to attempt to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. In many cases, the family court judge errs on the side of caution and grants a restraining order ex parte (based on the testimony of only one party). Then it is up to you and your lawyer to figure out how to get the restraining order dismissed or vacated while minimizing the effect of the charges on your future.
While the restraining order is a civil matter, the person accused of domestic violence can also face criminal charges for assault and battery. A conviction would become part of a permanent criminal record. Since employers routinely conduct background checks of prospective employees, a conviction for domestic assault and battery can be very career damaging.
If you are facing spousal abuse charges or if you have been the victim of domestic violence, contact our Concord attorneys to discuss your rights and options.