Harassment Prevention Orders

prevention orders are available under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 258E. One could take a 258E order out against you in the following circumstances:

  • You have committed 3 or more willful and malicious acts aimed at a specific person that were intended to cause fear or intimidation and did in fact cause fear or intimidation. Under this law, “malicious” entails some type of cruelty or hostility.

  • At least one time, you used force or a threat to cause another person to engage in sexual relations involuntarily.

  • At least one time, you committed an act against the other person that amounts to indecent assault and battery, rape, statutory rape, assault with intent to rape, enticing a child, stalking, criminal harassment, or drugging for sexual intercourse.

Apart from the above eligibility criteria, harassment prevention orders are much like abuse prevention orders (209A orders). The most important difference between 209A and 258E is that the former is limited to parties who are married or cohabitating, have a child in common, are in a dating relationship, or are related by blood or marriage. Another key difference lies in the relief that is available. Under 258E, you may be ordered not to contact the other party, to stay away from the other party’s residence or place of work, to refrain from harassing or abusing the other party, or to pay restitution in certain circumstances. There are other forms of relief available under 209A such as orders to vacate or surrender firearms and orders involving temporary child custody, support and visitation.

258E grants jurisdiction to the District, Boston Municipal, and Superior Courts. The Juvenile Court will have jurisdiction where the defendant is under the age of 17. A Temporary Order may issue against you even if you are not present, provided that there is a substantial likelihood of immediate danger.

If you violate a harassment prevention order, the potential punishment is up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction or a $5,000 fine, or both.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

If a 258E harassment prevention order has been issued against you, you should immediately speak with an experienced attorney who can fight against its extension. Harassment prevention orders can seriously limit where you can work, reside, or travel. You will be facing criminal charges with potentially serious penalties if you violate the order. Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. is an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer who is widely known for his effective and aggressive representation.

Call the Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at 617–973–5858. Attorney Wheeler’s office welcomes calls 24/7.