Frequently Asked Question
Abuse prevention orders issued by another state or protection orders issued in another jurisdiction, MUST be enforced by police officers in Massachusetts. These orders may originate in any state, United States territory, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or a tribal court. They must be for the purpose of preventing violent or threatening acts or harassment against, or contact or communication with or physical proximity to another person, including temporary and final orders. These orders must be treated as if they originated in Massachusetts, including mandatory arrest.
The law states that officers may presume the validity of, and enforce in accordance with the 209A law, a copy of a protection order issued by another jurisdiction which has been provided to the law enforcement officer by any source, provided that the officer is also provided with a statement by the person protected by the order that such order remains in effect. Law enforcement officers may rely on such statement by the person protected such order. M.G.L. c209A s5A.
While it is not a necessary step in order to trigger enforcement protections, any person protected under an out-of-state order may file a certified copy of the order with any District, Probate, or Superior Court. This action will cause the order to be entered into the Commonwealth's Domestic Violence Record Keeping System. Prior to this change in the law in 1996, out-of-state restraining orders were not criminally enforceable Massachusetts.