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Restraining Orders

Experienced Defense for Restraining Order Violations

For his entire legal career, Ryan P. Sullivan has had experience with virtually every aspect of restraining orders and harassment orders. Attorney Sullivan previously prosecuted violations of Chapter 209A (abuse prevention orders) and Chapter 258E (harassment prevention orders). Attorney Sullivan vigorously defends his clients alleged to have violated these orders, and understands that a proactive approach to investigation and defense is vital to success.

Many times there are technical problems with restraining orders that can be exploited by a detail-oriented criminal defense attorney, like Ryan Sullivan. What may look at first glance to be a relatively simple case may, after a thorough analysis, determine flaws that could lead to charges being dismissed or a client being found not guilty. Even if the Government has a strong case, Attorney Sullivan’s ability to effectively negotiate with prosecutors throughout the State can potentially lead to a result that is favorable to the client.

Attorney Sullivan has also represented clients in defending against harassment orders and restraining orders issuing or being extended. There are strict requirements that a judge must find in order to issue an order in the first place. Attorney Sullivan is knowledgeable about the elements that must be met in each instance.

Restraining Order / Abuse Prevention Order

In order for a 209A order to be issued, a judge must find essentially two things: (1) That the person seeking the order has a relationship with the person the order is taken out against; and (2) that the person seeking the order is suffering from current abuse.

The relationship can be shown if the two were married, were living together, are family members by blood or marriage, a parent relationship exists, or the two were in a serious dating relationship.

In order for a restraining order plaintiff to show they are suffering from abuse, proof is require that the person seeking the order was harmed physically, there was an attempt to harm physically, the person was put in fear of physical abuse at any moment, or the person seeking the order was forced to have sex. What is important to remember is that “verbal abuse” is not enough (unless threats of violence are made). Many times a review of the affidavit submitted in support of a restraining order does not contain all these elements. Unless you have an attorney ready to argue these legal points, a judge may overlook a missing element and extend the order.


Even if both sides agree that contact is not a good idea, a strong defense against a restraining order in many cases is important. Not only can an order have negative potential consequences on a person’s job, school, or personal life, but it can also have dramatic consequences in the criminal world as well. The fact that an order was issued can be used against you in a bail argument for a later criminal case, which could result in your being jailed. Also, if the person gets the order and reports to police that it was violated, the defendant can be subject to criminal charges and mandatory arrest by police. These serious consequences can have a lasting negative impact and cause significant damage to a person’s life and reputation.

If you or a loved one is the target of a restraining order or harassment prevention order, contact the Law Office of Ryan P. Sullivan at (617) 997-7597 or send an email to discuss your options, the allegations, and plan a defense at the hearing which will determine whether an order is issued or not.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

Heather R.

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