Harassment Protection Orders in Massachusetts

In today’s society, harassment is an unfortunate reality that many individuals face.  Whether it occurs in the workplace, online, or in personal relationships, harassment can have severe emotional and psychological effects on its victims.  To combat this, the legal system provides mechanisms such as harassment protection orders to safeguard individuals from unwanted and threatening behavior.  In this blog post, we will explore what constitutes harassment, how to obtain a harassment protection order, and the legal consequences for those who violate these orders.

What is Harassment?

You can ask for a Harassment Prevention Order (a “258E Order) from a judge if you’re suffering from harassment because someone has committed 3 or more acts:

  • That were willful and malicious. This means it was done on purpose and was done for cruelty, hostility or revenge

  • Were aimed at you.

  • Were intended to cause you fear, intimidation, abuse, or damage to property. “Abuse” means causing or attempting to cause physical harm, or causing fear of imminent serious physical harm.

  • Did in fact cause you fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property

or

  • Someone has forced you to have sex or threatened you into having sex at least once

or

  • Someone has committed 1 of these crimes against you at least once:

    • Indecent assault and battery

    • Rape

    • Statutory rape

    • Assault with intent to rape

    • Enticement of a child

    • Criminal stalking

    • Criminal harassment

    • Drugging for sexual intercourse

How to Get a Harassment Protection Order:

If you are experiencing harassment, you can seek legal protection through a harassment protection order, also known as a restraining order or protective order. Here are the steps to obtain one:

1. Identify the Jurisdiction

Determine the appropriate court to file your petition. This is usually the district or county court in the area where you or the harasser lives.

2. File a Petition

Complete the necessary forms, which are available at the court or online on the court’s website.  In the petition, you will need to provide specific details about the harassment, including dates, locations, and the nature of the behavior.

3. Temporary Order

In urgent cases, you can request a temporary protection order, which can be granted immediately without the presence of the harasser. This order typically lasts until the full court hearing.

4. Court Hearing

A hearing will be scheduled, usually within ten (10) days, where both you and the alleged harasser will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony.

5. Final Order

If the judge finds sufficient evidence of harassment, a final protection order will be issued, detailing the restrictions placed on the harasser.

What Happens if the Defendant Violates the Order

Violating a harassment protection order is a serious offense and can result in criminal charges. The consequences vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the violation but can include:

– Arrest and criminal charges

– Fines or penalties

– Additional restrictions or an extension of the existing order

– Jail time, especially for repeated violations

It’s crucial for victims to report any violations of the order to law enforcement immediately. Keeping a record of all incidents, including dates, times, and descriptions, can be helpful in legal proceedings.

Contact Logan & Logan LLP For Harassment Protection Orders In Quincy, MA

Harassment is a serious issue that can have lasting effects on individuals. Fortunately, the legal system provides mechanisms like harassment protection orders to offer relief and protection to victims. If you or someone you know is experiencing harassment, it’s important to understand your rights and the steps you can take to secure your safety.

For more information or legal assistance, please contact our law firm. Our experienced attorneys at Logan & Logan LLP are here to help you navigate the complexities of harassment protection orders and ensure your rights are protected. Contact our expert attorneys at Logan & Logan LLP today for a free consultation: (617) 209-3723.

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