If someone is beyond annoying, and your situation
has escalated to an unacceptable degree, perhaps you
should consider using a designated Massachusetts law
to defend and protect yourself from abuse.
The requirements for requesting the judge to grant
a harassment prevention order, HPO, under M.G.L.
c.258, E include that you are suffering from harassment
because someone has committed 3 or more acts that
were willful and malicious, were all aimed at you, and
were all intended to cause you fear, intimidation, abuse
or damage to property, and in fact, did cause you fear,
intimidation, abuse or damage to property. By way of
explanation, “malicious” means cruel, hostile, or
revengeful. And, “abuse” means caused, or attempted to
cause physical harm, or causing fear of imminent
serious physical harm.
Another alternative for grounds would be that
someone has caused you, at least once, to engage in
sexual relations, involuntarily by use of force, threats or
Lastly, grounds also may include that a person has
committed certain crimes against you such as, criminal
harassment, indecent assault, stalking, rape and other
select criminal infractions.
The differences between a harassment
prevention order and a restraining order are several.
A restraining order has more requirements regarding
the relationship you have, or had with the person you
want to litigate against. Also, to obtain a harassment
order you must now live in the jurisdiction of the court
where the order is sought. For a restraining order you
may have moved away due to the alleged abuse, but still
go back to the court where the abuse allegedly took
place. In either case, if the person you want to litigate
against lives elsewhere, even out of state, you can still
proceed. There is no filing fee in either case. Also, you
are not entitled to court appointed counsel to seek an
order or to defend yourself against one. If you want
counsel you must hire your own attorney.
Attorney Randi Potash is a lawyer with experience
in defending against and applying for both of these sorts
of orders. Although you understandably believ you
have been abused or harassed and surely you think you
have grounds for a harassment prevention order or a
restraining order, it is wise to consult a lawyer to avoid
filing a frivolous or unsupported application. It is worth
your time and a small expense to see if in fact an
experienced lawyer believes the law and the facts
properly align and, indeed support your quest for relief.
Unless there is a showing, and the court believes
that you face a substantial likelihood of immediate
danger of harassment you will have to attend court
twice in order to attempt to lodge an order. Once for the
judge to decide if you have grounds, and next time to
allow your adversary to defend himself at a hearing.
That second hearing is usually within 10 days.
Call Randi Potash, Esquire at 617.631.2591 to learn
more and receive an educated and candid opinion.