10 Most Important Actions When Served with a 209A Restraining Order

1. DO calm down. This is more important than it sounds. Wait one hour before doing anything else.

2. DO NOT contact the person who took out the order in any manner whatsoever. This includes text messages, e-mails, sending flowers, or contact through third persons. It is tempting to ask “Why did you do it??” but this is a dangerous temptation.

3. DO read the order carefully to see which provisions are checked. Is there a “No Contact” provision? Is there a “Stay Away” provision? Note the addresses of the stay-away locations. Are there provisions regarding children?

4. DO note the date and location of the next scheduled hearing. This will be indicated on page 2 of the 209A Order. If you cannot read the writing, call the Clerk’s Office for the court listed at the top of the 209A Order.

5. DO contact family and friends to arrange for a place to stay at least until the next hearing date, which should be in about 10 days.

6. DO NOT return to the residence to retreive personal belongings if the order specifies your residence as a stay-away location. Doing so would be a violation of the order, which is a serious crime.

7. DO NOT disconnect utilities or telephone lines even if the rental lease or the house is in your name. Doing so may negatively impact your chances of getting the order dismissed later. If the other person has no legal claim to the residence from which you were ordered to stay away, you may be able to force them to leave via an eviction proceeding.

8. DO NOT go near the other person’s workplace, school, or any other place where they may be spending time even if it is a public place.

9. DO contact an attorney. The attorney can help you to retreive your belongings by communicating with the police on your behalf. The attorney will also advise you of your rights and what options may be available. If you and the other person work or go to school at the same place, the attorney will have the order modified to allow you access to these places without placing you in violation. The attorney will also advise you whether there is a good chance of getting the order dismissed (removed) and what procedures will be involved.

10. DO try to distract yourself and keep yourself occupied with other things. The next few weeks will be especially tough. It is important to surround yourself with supportive people, family, and friends so that the nightmare of the 209A order seems less daunting.

Most importantly, ABIDE BY THE ORDER. Doing so will give you the best chances of successfully presenting your case in court in order to get the order removed.

Attorney Dmitry Lev assists persons accused of committing crimes in Massachusetts. In addition, Attorney Lev counsels and represents defendants in domestic abuse (209A Restraining Order) matters and violations of these orders. Law Offices of D. Lev may be reached at (617) 556-9990 for a free consultation regarding a specific matter.