The issue of domestic violence has become the focus of genuine and increasing public concern. Courts in the Commonwealth issue Abuse Prevention Orders, also known as “Restraining Orders,” and Harassment Prevention Orders in significant numbers every day. Restraining Orders are issued by the courts to protect family and household members from physical harm or threats of violence by a relative, spouse, or member of the same household or someone with whom they had a dating relationship. Harassment Prevention Orders are issued by courts when a non-family or non-household member commits three or more acts toward another person, which are designed to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property.
These orders help protect people from harm, but these orders can be violated unwittingly or unknowingly by the party who is the subject of the order. A violation is charged as a criminal offense. There are significant criminal penalties involving the potential for a lengthy jail sentence for violation of a Civil Abuse Prevention Order or Harassment Prevention Order.
Victim rights advocates are assigned to each court to assist the prosecution in gathering abuse-related information from the victim in these sorts of cases. Alleged victims are aggressively encouraged by these advocates working with the prosecution to attend court hearings at every stage of the case to ensure a conviction. Alleged victims are fully educated of their right to speak to a judge and give a “victim impact statement” to the court before sentencing to maximize the impact of the sentence against the defendant.
While we certainly believe that individuals deserve to be free from abuse, we also know that there are two sides to every story. Sometimes the person claiming to be abused really wasn’t. Don’t let your life be ruined by a conviction or guilty plea that is based on “half-truths.” In our investigations, we have discovered that there are many alleged victims who have filed false reports in a moment of anger. Sometimes these false reports are made in connection with emotional and difficult custody disputes. We also see many cases in which even the alleged victim did not believe that he or she was abused, but the police arrested the defendant anyway. Convictions for these crimes can carry substantial jail time, consequences for employment, terminate your right to own a firearm, and/or result in your deportation from the United States.
Most importantly, many of these cases result in convictions or plea deals because of what the defendant says to the police during the investigation. You should always exercise your Miranda rights (your right to remain silent) and contact an experienced attorney immediately if you find yourself being interviewed in connection with a restraining order or harassment prevention order investigation.
When there is an entire team of advocates, police, and prosecutors working to hit you with the stiffest possible penalty, it is critical to engage the services of an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to provide you with an effective and persuasive defense to any abuse-related crime. KJC Law Firm attorneys have successfully defended numerous cases where clients have been charged with accused of abuse in Massachusetts:
The lawyers at KJC Law Firm have more than 125 years of experience representing their clients in court and negotiating favorable resolutions of their cases. We regularly defend clients accused of domestic violence or harassment. KJC Law Firm represents people from communities across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Worcester, Springfield, Cape Cod, Fall River and Lowell.
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