Restraining Orders in Massachusetts
Henry Lebensbaum is an attorney who practices law in Massachusetts. He began studying law at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, after years of working as a psychologist.
As an attorney, he takes on both civil and criminal cases. A tool at the disposal of any attorney, in either criminal or civil law, is a restraining order, sometimes called a protection order. Restraining orders are issued by judges, and they tell people what to do or not do. An example in a civil case might direct one party to stop an activity that constitutes a public nuisance, like playing music too loud after a certain time of day. Or it might order two parties to a civil lawsuit to each leave the other one alone. In the context of a civil case, they are sometimes called temporary injunctions, and can become permanent injunctions.
Restraining orders are also used in criminal cases. A judge may issue a restraining order in cases of domestic violence, ordering the alleged abuser not to get any closer than a certain distance, such as one hundred yards, to the other party, such as one hundred yards. In a criminal case, a victim or potential victim applies for a restraining order, asking a judge to tell the aggressor to stay away. The person seeking the restraining order must convince the judge that it’s necessary as a matter of safety. The judge has authority to issue a temporary restraining order o the spot, even if the defendant is not present. There is usually a follow-up hearing within a few days, at which the judge may make the temporary order permanent.