July 13, 2016

     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.

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© 2019 by ​Cape Cod Criminal Defense Attorney Randi J. Potash.  

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving clients in Cape Cod, Greater Boston, and throughout the state of Massachusetts, including the cities and towns of Amesbury, Andover, Barnstable, Belmont, Beverly, Boston, Boxford, Braintree, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Chatham, Cohasset, Concord, Danvers, Dedham, Dennis, Dorchester, Dover, Everett, Falmouth, Framingham, Franklin, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holbrook, Hyannis, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lexington, Lincoln, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Marlborough, Marshfield, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Methuen, Middleton, Millis, Natick, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Norwood, Orleans, Peabody, Plymouth, Quincy, Randolph, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Scituate, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerville, Stoughton, Sudbury, Swampscott, Topsfield, Walpole, Wareham, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Weymouth, Winchester. All towns encompassed in the Counties of Middlesex, Suffolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Essex and Norfolk.