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Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 28, 2023

What protections can I get in a protection from harassment order?

A temporary, emergency, and a final protection from harassment order can give you the following protections:

  • prohibit the harasser from threatening, assaulting, molesting, harassing, attacking, or abusing you or your employees;
  • prohibit the harasser from entering your home or property (but a protection from harassment order cannot be used to evict a tenant);
  • prohibit the harasser from taking, selling, destroying, or damaging your property;
  • prohibit the harasser from following you repeatedly without cause;
  • order the harasser to stay away from the area around your home, school, business, or place of employment (without good cause to be there);
  • prohibit the harasser from having direct or indirect contact with you;
  • prohibit the harasser from engaging in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images; and
  • prohibit the harasser from destroying, transferring or tampering with your passport or other immigration documents.1

In addition, only a final protection from harassment order can:

  • order the harasser to pay court costs and/or your reasonably attorney’s fees;
  • order the defendant to remove, destroy or return any “private images” (as defined in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images) and, if necessary, order the defendant to pay any costs associated with removal, destruction or return of the private images;
  • order the harasser to reimburse you for money you lost as a direct result of the harassment. Reimbursement is limited to:
    • loss of earnings or support;
    • reasonable expenses you spent for safety/ protection;
    • reasonable expenses you had for personal injuries or property damage; and
    • reasonable moving expenses; and
  • order the harasser to do anything else the court thinks is necessary and appropriate.2

Note: If you are going to be seeking the money damages described above, you can ask for a hearing where you can prove the amount of damages you suffered. If you choose, you can make a motion to the court to have the case moved to superior court so that you can have a jury trial on the money damages issue. To have a jury trial, you must make a motion before the hearing for the final protection from harassment order.3

However, if the judge finds that your complaint for a protection from harassment order is “frivolous,” s/he can order you to pay the harasser’s court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.4 Therefore, if you are really unsure as to whether your case qualifies as harassment, you might want to speak to an attorney before filing. You can go to our Maine Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

1 5 M.R.S. §§ 4654(4)4655(1)
2 5 M.R.S. § 4655(1)
3 5 M.R.S. § 4655(1)(D)
4 5 M.R.S. § 4655(1-A)