Restraining orders - from state to state
Steven J. Wojnar
Abuse prevention orders or “restraining orders” are common dealings for police officers. These are issued under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A and are designed to protect family or household members from abuse. With our proximity to Connecticut, I was asked if police can enforce similar orders from another state.
The answer to this is yes. Section 5A of Chapter 209A provides in part, “Any protection order issued by another jurisdiction, as defined in section one, shall be given full faith and credit throughout the commonwealth and enforced as if it were issued in the commonwealth for as long as the order is in effect in the issuing jurisdiction.” This law is designed to protect victims of domestic violence from further abuse. A victim should be afforded the proper protection, not denied simply because they have moved to another state. Prior to the mid-1990s, these victims were required to seek assistance from the local courts or police agencies after established hours, to obtain orders of protection. This law allows them the opportunity to maintain protection while they establish residence in a new state. Upon expiration of an order or at the end of any term or condition, the person seeking protection is required to obtain further orders from the state in which they reside. Violations of restraining orders are an arrestable criminal offense, punishable by a fine and or a term of imprisonment in a jail or house of correction.
This law is important to assist those fleeing from abuse. It eliminates an additional step in the abuse prevention process. This law protects victims and their children during a move to another state. This makes what is usually a stressful and often frightening experience somewhat easier.
For those still seeking vaccination or COVID related information, it can be found at www.dudleyma.gov or by calling The Board of Health 508-949-8036. During these challenging times, we, at the Dudley Police Department, greatly appreciate the support we receive from our community.
Thanks again for your questions and comments. Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St. Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.