Lawrence Criminal Defense Attorney Counsels Clients on How to Fight Harassment Prevention Orders
General Laws Chapter 258E is a Massachusetts statute that provides for the issuance of “harassment prevention orders.” These orders are similar to 209A “abuse prevention orders,” and the procedures are practically the same. It is important to note that the major differences between 258E orders and 209A orders occur in the eligibility requirements and the available forms of relief.
258E Includes Wider Eligibility Definitions
258E orders may be issued against anyone who is defined as being a threat, even a complete stranger. Under this broader definition, there are three forms of “harassment” that can justify the issuing of an order:
- Three or more willful and malicious acts towards a specific person with the intent to cause fear and that do, in fact, cause fear.
- Any act, even a single one, that causes another person to engage in sex by force or by threat.
- Any act, from the following list of 12 specified crimes, all of which involve harassment: indecent assault and battery, indecent assault and battery on a child, indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability, rape, statutory rape, forcible rape of a child, assault with intent to rape, assault with intent to rape a child, stalking, criminal harassment, drugging for sexual intercourse, and enticement of a child.
Protections Resulting From 258E
Under 258E, there are four types of relief available, should the order be issued. The court can order the defendant:
- To never contact the plaintiff
- To stay away from the plaintiff’s home or workplace
- To refrain from harassing or abusing the plaintiff
- To pay restitution for certain losses
Violating a Harassment Prevention Order
Like restraining orders, harassment prevention orders are civil and not criminal in nature. However, a person who violates a harassment prevention order may be charged with a criminal offense that is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Let Us Help You Fight Back
The Law Office of Henry Lebensbaum is a Massachusetts-based criminal defense firm. We are here to help you get harassment prevention orders vacated before a violation leads to a criminal charge. We defend those who have been accused of violating harassment prevention orders by making sure their voices are heard. When you are facing such drastic orders, it’s important to have an experienced attorney in your corner to protect your rights and ensure your freedom.