What happens if you accidentally run into the person who has a Massachusetts restraining order against you? Massachusetts law allows for accidental contact and does not treat mistakes or accidents as crimes.
Anyone claiming accidental contact cannot be convicted of a violation of a restraining order, or a 209a order, unless the prosecutor proves otherwise. In cases where an accidental encounter happened the prosecutor must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt.
First, the prosecutor must prove is that the encounter was accidental. Massachusetts courts have stated it is accidental contact if the defendant did not know and had no reason believe that the person would there at the same time. Simply running into a person at a store would not be a violation of a Massachusetts restraining order as long as the defendant didn’t have a reason to believe the person would be there.
If the prosecutor proves that the encounter was accidental, they must then prove that the defendant did not take reasonable steps to end the encounter. In Massachusetts people are required to “take reasonable steps to end the accidental encounter.” For example, if the defendant sees the person he or she is ordered to stay away from and does not take reasonable steps to end the encounter they can be found guilty even though the contact was truly accidental.
Contact that was accidental and ended as soon as reasonably as possible is not a violation of a restraining order in Massachusetts.
Call Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Patrick Donovan if you have been charged with violating a restraining order. Patrick Donovan is a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer who has helped many people charged with a restraining order and domestic violence allegations. Before becoming a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Donovan was a prosecutor. Attorney Donovan offers free consultations on all domestic violence cases.