Expunge Restraining Order Record Westwood/Dedham, Massachusetts, Lawyers
If you have ever been the recipient-defendant of either a 208 or 209A Abuse Prevention Order, more commonly known as a “domestic restraining order,” or a 258E Harassment Prevention Order, which is a nondomestic restraining order, you should be aware of all your legal rights and consider the very real possibility to expunge your civil record from the statewide domestic violence registry system. This applies to any restraining order, whether it was in effect for only 10 days or for an entire year, and even an order that thereafter extended year to year. This also applies to cases where the order was not extended by the court as well as to instances where the order was eventually vacated upon your motion to the court. Having a record of a civil restraining order can shadow you for a lifetime and haunt you in many foreseeable and unforeseeable ways. It can hinder or prevent you from working in some occupations, such as certain law enforcement jobs or perhaps as a physician, a therapist, a pharmacist or a nurse. It might affect your eligibility to become a foster parent or work for certain social services agencies such as the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) or the Department of Youth Services (“DYS”). In some instances, it can result in termination from your present job if the existence of this record is discovered.
Contact a Dedham/Westwood lawyer at the Law Office of Philip L. Arnel.
Having a record of a civil restraining order could prevent you from being accepted to certain schools or otherwise to be suspended or even expelled from your current schooling. A few institutions of higher education known to highly scrutinize both applicants and enrolled students alike include law schools, accounting programs, medical schools, pharmacological schools and nursing programs. Professional associations could exclude your membership if you have a record of domestic violence. Needless to say, the record of a civil restraining order is a domestic relations tactical weapon that will be wielded to your financial and emotional loss in a divorce, child custody or visitation proceeding. It could also effectively kill any political aspirations that you have.
Expunging your entire civil record will prevent most employers, schools, domestic partners and others from accessing embarrassing and damaging information contained in the record. Attorney Arnel is one of the few attorneys who offer specialized services to preserve and maintain the integrity of the civil records of those who effectively become the undeserving real victims of civil restraining orders. Contact the Massachusetts sealing and expunging lawyers at the Law Office of Philip L. Arnel at 781-708-4137 for a free consultation and assessment as to whether or not you can have your civil record expunged.
Expunge Record Of 209A Civil Abuse Prevention Restraining Order Or 258E Civil Harassment Restraining Order
Any person who is the recipient of an abuse prevention “restraining” order pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 208, 209A or 258E will from that point forward have a civil record of restraining order that is contained and discoverable within the statewide domestic violence registry system and which could be disclosed to certain employers, schools, agencies and others regardless of the eventual outcome of the actual civil dispute. For more information, please see 209A Restraining Order FAQ and/or 258E Harassment Prevention Order FAQ.
In Vaccaro v. Vaccaro, a 1997 case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that even though a 209A order against him was vacated, a husband could not have the record of the order expunged from the domestic abuse registry. On March 10, 2006, the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided a case in which a 209A order had been obtained through a fraud on the court. In Commissioner of Probation v. Amanda Adams, 65 Mass.App.Ct. 725, 843 N.E.2d 1101 (2006), the court distinguished that scenario from that of Vaccaro, and ruled that “a judge has the inherent authority to expunge a record of a 209A order from the statewide domestic violence registry system in the rare and limited circumstance that the judge has found through clear and convincing evidence that the order was obtained through fraud on the court.”
Attorney Arnel Prevails! — The Dawning Of A New Era
Since a restraining order is by itself civil in nature, it only becomes criminal if the defendant is accused of and charged with violating one or more of its specified conditions. Unlike criminal cases, the record of a restraining order cannot be sealed and, until the court ruled otherwise in the
Adams case, a judge had no inherent power to order the civil record expunged since the order was not part of the criminal record system, but rather part of the statewide domestic violence registry system. Since this largely applauded ruling, Mr. Arnel is highly acclaimed and commended for effectively “opening the floodgates” by becoming the first lawyer in Massachusetts history to successfully argue for the expunging of the record of a restraining order. A brief summary of Mr. Arnel’s landmark case, Chamberlain v. Khanilian, was published on the front page of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (September 11, 2006; No. 16-019-06) and can be reviewed by clicking here.
The record of a 208, 209A or 258E civil restraining order can now be expunged (by way of written motion to the court with accompanying memorandum of law and supporting affidavit, and generally after both evidentiary hearing and oral argument) from the statewide domestic violence registry if shown by clear and convincing evidence that the order was obtained through fraud on the court. However, as the courts continue to struggle in their ageless plight to define the arguably vague concept of fraud, it is oftentimes difficult to prove. That the plaintiff may have been somewhat untruthful in executing the original affidavit or even in proffering subsequent testimony, or that the order was not extended, or that it was even vacated, will rarely singularly suffice to establish that a fraud was perpetrated to the extent required to expunge the record. Meeting this criterion places an expectedly heavy burden on the defendant and is, consistent with most legal proceedings, of uncertain outcome. However, as Mr. Arnel has already proven to the entire legal community and shown others through his relentless perseverance, it is entirely possible with his significant legal knowledge and thorough preparation.
See also the CHANNEL 5-WCVB BOSTON news story featuring Attorney Arnel by viewing the video on the right side.