What is a Restraining Order? Is it a Civil Case or a Criminal Case?
In Massachusetts a Restraining Order or Harassment
Prevention Order is not a criminal case in terms of the Order itself, yet a
violation of the Order would be considered a crime.
Restraining Order Violations are Considered Misdemeanors
under and handled in District Court.
The penalty can be up to 2 ½ years in jail and up to a
$5,000 fine with a possibility of conditions such as a Batterers Intervention
Program. A Batterers Intervention
Program can be something that can take up to 4o weeks with about 2 hours per
What is part of the Restraining Order?
Restraining Orders are Civil Orders they are not
criminal. The person who requested the restraining order is called the Plaintiff
and the person who the Order is being taken out against is called the Defendant. There are a variety of conditions that can be
involved including no contact with the Plaintiff; vacating the residents if the
Plaintiff lives there; stay away from the Plaintiff’s home or work; refrain
from abuse of the Plaintiff. There can
be custody of minor children; that can be granted visitation or no visitation
with the children; surrendering firearms to the police; being ordered maintain
utilities and sometimes other bills and there may be other provisions as well.