How to Protect Yourself With a Minnesota Restraining Order
The United States of America is a seat of democracy and the land of the free. Its citizens are protected by the law to be at liberty to live and work peacefully and safely. So, what happens when an external party, someone close or not so close to us, threatens the sanctity of these inalienable rights through abuse or harassment? You get a restraining order against them.
While the need to even get such legal protection is unfortunate, it's sometimes necessary to safeguard ourselves and the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of those we love or hold in high esteem. DoNotPay is here to help you learn what a restraining order is, why you need to get one, and how you go about it.
What Is a Restraining Order?
A Minnesota restraining order is issued by a Minnesota court to protect a petitioner from situations involving harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking by another individual. These orders are temporary and prohibit the alleged accuser from contacting an individual, physically and electronically.
There are varying kinds of protection and restraining orders through which the court can bar one person from having contact with another party. Disobeying these orders may result in criminal or civil penalties.
The Different Types of Restraining Orders
Courts in Minnesota recognize three types of protection or restraining orders. The disparities between the types are due to the initiating party and the issuing court.
Harassment Restraining Orders (HRO)
These protection orders are normally issued at a petitioner's request through a civil process in a bid to safeguard oneself from harassment. Minnesota law defines harassment as:
- A single incident of sexual or physical harassment.
- A single incident where someone's private or personal information has been used without consent to encourage, invite, or solicit sexual acts from a third party.
- A single incident where someone's private sexual images have been shared without their permission.
- Repeated incidents of unwanted or intrusive gestures, words, or acts that have a significant negative effect or are intended to have a significant negative effect on the other person's privacy, security, or safety. This may be in the form of following a person, calling them unceasingly, and visiting them when they have been expressively told not to.
- Focused residential picketing.
- Continually attending public functions or events after being informed that their presence is unwelcome and harassing to the other party.
An HRO may be issued regardless of the relationship between the petitioner and the harasser.
Order for Protection (OFP)
An OFP is almost similar to an HRO. A petitioner can request it after having suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a household or family member. The following acts qualify as domestic abuse:
- Assault or the infliction of physical harm or bodily injury
- The infliction of fear of impending physical harm
- Threats of a terroristic nature
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Interfering with an emergency dial
The law goes on to define a household or family member as:
- A current or former spouse
- Persons engaging in a significant sexual or romantic relationship
- Children and parents
- Blood relatives
- Persons who are currently living together or have done so in the past
- Persons sharing a child regardless of whether they were married or living together
A petitioner can request an OFP via a civil process. Orders for Protection come in two forms:
|Ex Parte Order for Protection||It is typically issued if there's a present or immediate threat of domestic abuse. It's given without necessarily hearing the alleged harasser's side of the story.|
|Full Order for Protection||It is issued in court, and both sides have the chance to present evidence, witnesses, or testimonies to plead their case.|
Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders (DANCO)
A DANCO is completely different from OFPs and HROs. The issuance of this no-contact order is typically part of criminal proceedings when charges of harassment, domestic abuse, stalking a household member or family, violating a prior DANCO, or violating an OFP are presented against the alleged abuser.
Violation of a DANCO may result in criminal charges being filed. If law enforcement determines there's probable cause to believe a DANCO has been breached, the violator can be arrested and held in custody for at least 36 hours.
How Can You Obtain a Restraining Order in Minnesota?
Any guardian, family, or household member may apply for an Order for Protection. When it comes to minors, a respectable adult aged 25 years or older may apply on their behalf. However, in some cases, if the court ascertains the minor's maturity, they may request the protective order on their own.
Anyone who has suffered harassment under someone else may file for a Harassment Restraining Order. Furthermore, a victim's conservator or guardian may also file for an HRO from a district court. The relationship between the harasser and the victim is inconsequential in this case.
To file for a restraining order in Minnesota, this is what one needs to do:
- Fill out the necessary forms. You'll be required to fill out the Petition for Restraining Order and the Petitioner's Affidavit, with all the information you have available or can remember. Include dates, times, places, and generally as many specifics as possible.
- The next step is filing these forms. You'll need to liaise with the court administrator for this. They should either have jurisdiction in the county where the offense occurred or in the county you call home. A filing fee needs to be paid, which may be overlooked if the offense is categorized as gross misconduct or a felony. An OFP usually is fee-free, but for an HRO, you'll likely pay a base filing fee of $287 in addition to the law library fees. Low-income persons can get this fee waived by filing the IFP form given by the court administrator.
- Waiting for the restraining order. Once you've completed the paperwork, the judge will then receive your forms from the court administrator for their review. They can then either give you the restraining order you asked for, schedule a hearing regardless of whether a temporary order has been enacted, or simply dismiss the case altogether. If enough factual evidence supports the petitioner's claims, a restraining order will be issued for two years at the most. The situation will remain as is for this period, given that the respondent or the victim doesn't request a court hearing.
- A law enforcement officer or the sheriff will serve the respondent with valid copies of the restraining order. This is done at zero expense to the petitioner.
This whole process is quite cumbersome, complex, and time-consuming, especially if you don't have a career of experience in the legal field.
Using DoNotPay to Help You Get That Restraining Order
DoNotPay has helped a lot of people file for restraining orders in an easy and efficient manner. We know it's not easy going through all these lengths to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. It's why we've reduced the process into just a few easy-to-follow steps that won't require a legal mind to follow through.
How to apply for a restraining order with the help of DoNotPay:
- Search for relationship protection on DoNotPay.
- Answer a few easy questions on our File a Restraining Order product.
- Submit the form and you're done!
And that's it! DoNotPay will compile for you the forms you need to fill out and give you detailed instructions on how to file for a restraining order in your jurisdiction. Stay safe!
What Other Services Does DoNotPay Offer?
DoNotPay is in the business of helping people find quick and reliable solutions to their restraining order needs. You don't have to reinvent the wheel by going through the time-consuming bureaucratic rigmarole, especially if your heart is still heavy from having to get a protective order in the first place. Learn more about some of our services using the following links:
- Learn how to get a restraining order in California
- Learn how to get a restraining order in Texas
- Learn how to get a restraining order in Florida
- Learn how a restraining order works
- Learn how much it costs to apply for a restraining order