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Protection from Harassment (PFH)

What Qualifies as "Harassment" in a PFH Case?

Maine law provides that, for purposes of a PFH case, "harassment" means:

  • Three or more acts of intimidation, confrontation, actual or threatened physical force by the defendant, made with the intention of causing fear, intimidation, or damage to personal property, and which do in fact cause fear, intimidation, or damage to personal property; or
  • A single act or course of conduct constituting a serious criminal act, such as sexual assault, terrorizing, kidnapping, aggravated assault, arson, or violation of privacy; or
  • Violating or interfering with the plaintiff's constitutional or civil rights. 

Who Can File a Complaint for PFH?

Any person, and even any business, can file a complaint for protection from harassment. No special relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant is required. 

What Can a PFH Order Do?

A final protection from harassment order may prohibit the defendant from some or all of the following:

  • Harassing, threatening, assaulting, interfering with, attacking or otherwise abusing the plaintiff or the plaintiff's employees;
  • Entering the plaintiff's property or residence;
  • Interfering with or destroying the plaintiff's property;
  • Repeatedly, and without reasonable cause, following the plaintiff or being at or near the plaintiff's home, school, business or work;
  • Having any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiff; and
  • Destroying, transferring or tampering with the plaintiff's passport or other immigration documents in the defendant's possession.

A final order may also require the defendant to pay money to the plaintiff for losses suffered as a direct result of the harassment. Losses are limited the following:

  • Loss of earnings or support;
  • Reasonable expenses incurred for safety protection;
  • Reasonable expenses incurred for personal injuries or property damage;
  • Reasonable moving expenses; and
  • Damages related to the return or restoration of the plaintiff's passport or other immigration documents and any of the plaintiff's debts arising from a sex trafficking relationship.

How Long Does a PFH Order Last?

An initial final PFH order can last up to one year. The court may order a shorter period, or the parties may agree to a shorter period in an order by consent.

The court may extend a PFH order for such additional time as it deems necessary. The plaintiff must file a motion to extend the PFH order, otherwise it will expire.

What Happens If the Defendant Violates the PFH?

If the defendant violates the protection-from-harassment order, he or she may be arrested and charged with a crime. There may also be civil penalties, such as contempt of court. 

Contact Us Today

At the Law Offices of Dylan Boyd, in Portland, Maine, our attorneys will zealously represent you in your PFH case, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant. Please fill out an online form or call us at (207) 536-7147 for a consultation.

Contact Us Today

We are committed to answering your questions about Criminal Defense & OUI, Family Law & Divorce, Wills & Planning, and Mediation issues in Maine. We will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.