Violation of Abuse Prevention Order Charges
An abuse prevention order is a civil order, but a violation of certain parts of the order is a criminal offense, as defined in Massachusetts law.
Violation of the no abuse, no contact, leave the home, stay away from home/work or surrender firearms terms of an order are criminal offenses. If the police witness, or have probable cause to believe that the defendant violated a restraining order, they will seek to arrest you. In extraordinary circumstances, sometimes the court will issue a summons instead of an arrest warrant.
Requirements for Conviction
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution will need to prove that:
- a court had issued an order pursuant to Chapter 209A which ordered the defendant to refrain from abusing or contacting the alleged victim and/or child, and ordered to leave and stay away from the home or workplace.
- such an order was in effect on the date when its violation allegedly occurred.
- the defendant knew that the pertinent terms of the order were in effect, either by having received a copy of the order or by having learned of it in some other way.
- the defendant violated the order by abusing or contacting the alleged victim and/or child, and did not comply with the order to leave and stay away from the home or workplace.
A violation is punishable by a fine of up to five thousand dollars, or up to two and a half years in the house of correction, or both. If you’re found guilty of this crime, you can be placed on probation and/or go to jail. A criminal conviction of a violation (even a continuance without a finding) can affect your ability to get a job, public housing, or citizenship, or subject you to deportation, among other things.
Unlike many other criminal charges that have only one appropriate territorial venue, the charge of violation an abuse prevention order can prosecuted in either the territorial jurisdiction in which the violation was committed or the court in which the original order was issued.