I Was Arrested On Charges Related To Domestic Violence In Suffolk County. What Exactly Am I Being Charged With?
If you were arrested for a violent offense, your charges will depend on the circumstances. The only domestic charge in Massachusetts is assault and battery on a household or family member. If you are married, were married, lived together, are blood relatives, share children together, were in a dating relationship, or are currently in a dating relationship, those classifications all fall under the category of a domestic household or family member. Therefore, if an assault and battery was committed on a person who falls under one of those classifications, you can be charged with assault and battery on a household or family member. That is the only specific domestic violence crime that there is. Of course, domestic violence includes any number of other things, such as making threats, strangulation, assault and battery, and intimidation.
Is An Order Of Protection Or Restraining Order Automatically Put In Place When Charges Related To Domestic Violence Are Filed In Suffolk County?
When domestic violence charges are filed, an order of protection or a restraining order is not automatically put in place. A restraining order always has to be requested by the party seeking the order. In Massachusetts, under the domestic violence laws 209A, police will inform the alleged victim that they have a right to seek a restraining order. That doesn’t mean one will be put into place. That doesn’t mean that the victim has to get one, but they will be notified of their right to get the order. They can also seek an order in an emergency fashion, which means that they don’t have to wait until the court opens during its business hours. There is a judge on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week who can issue an emergency restraining order.
A restraining order can only be obtained if the victim takes affirmative steps to do so. However, the issue is that most clients don’t ask about restraining orders. They’re more concerned about going back home after they have been removed. Now, even though a restraining order can only be issued if your spouse, significant other, or family member asks for one, the prosecutor can ask for conditions of release when you go to court for arraignment. Conditions for release are sometimes put in place to ensure the safety of the victim or society. That might include staying away from the victim, spouse, significant other, brother, or mother. It might include staying away from your apartment or house. In a way, it is sort of like a restraining order, but it’s a different mechanism.
Oftentimes, clients can find themselves without a restraining order against them, but the court is still ordering them to stay away from their house. They would need a police escort if they wanted to collect some clothes.
I’m Facing Domestic Violence Related Charges. Can I Still Be In Touch With My Children?
If you are facing domestic violence charges, any allowable contact with your children will entirely depend on any standing orders from the court. For instance, if you’re going through a divorce, it will depend on any orders from the probate and family court. Generally, just because you are facing charges for a domestic violence offense, that does not mean that you are impeded from having contact with your children. The caveat is that the court can pretty much order whatever they want through pretrial conditions. Usually, a district court will not get involved with deciding custody issues or visitation. It’s not their purview. They don’t like to do it, but they can.
If a domestic dispute is an issue, and there are small children who viewed a violent encounter between their parents or if the violent encounter spilled over and involves the children, part of the court’s order can specify that the aggressor needs to stay away from the victims who are the spouse and children until further notice. However, if a specific order is not in place, there isn’t anything that prevents a person from seeing or contacting their children.
For more information on Domestic Violence In Massachusetts, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 718-5550 today.