As competent Minnesota criminal defense attorneys, we know that in Minnetonka, an Order for Protection (OFP) can be used in situations that involve allegations of domestic abuse, as defined by the state law.
An OFP can mean that an alleged abuser (or respondent) will need to:
- Cease committing further domestic violence
- Leave the residence they share with the victim (petitioner)
- Stop being within a certain distance around the victim’s residence or the workplace
- Give up custody of minor children
- Give up visitation rights
Further, the court may ask the alleged abuser to pay spousal and child support, or attend counseling sessions and seek necessary treatment.
It is important to remember that an OFP is not associated with criminal cases, and is issued in family court. In case the police are involved, a separate criminal inquiry may be conducted against the respondent as hurting or threatening people is illegal.
Who Is Eligible for OFP in Minnetonka, MN?
An OFP should not be confused with a harassment restraining order (HRO) or a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO). Ask any experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota, and they will corroborate that an OFP is issued when domestic violence issues come into play, whereas an HRO is applicable in cases involving a stalker or harasser. A DANCO is issued only in criminal cases.
Victims can get an OFP to stop domestic violence by family or household members, including:
- Husband or wife
- Former husband or former wife
- A romantic or sexual partner
- Blood relatives
- Anyone you are sharing or have shared a home with
- A parent
- A child, if they are over 18 years old
- The other parent of your child or unborn child
How to File an Order for Protection in Minnetonka, MN
Petitioners can avail of the official forms for filing for an OFP from the Minnesota courts. You can access the legal self-help center for other resources related to the laws and rules (Code Section 518B.01) that protect against domestic violence and harassment.
You need not have incriminating evidence showing that you suffered abuse in the past. However, as the petitioner, you will need to show that you are in a relationship with someone who has the intention to harm you or has been threatening to harm you.
Most judges will refrain from taking a chance on your safety when deciding on whether or not to issue a temporary OFP. However, it also needs to be said that every case is different, and depending on the specifics of your case, you may not always get the desired outcome. It is, therefore, best to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota rather than make assumptions.
Types of Orders for Protection in Minnesota
In Minnesota, there are two types of orders for protection:
- Ex parte orders
- Full orders
1. Ex Parte Orders
As per state law, an ex parte temporary order of protection can be given if the judge finds that there is immediate and imminent danger of domestic violence and you need protection at the earliest.
The term “ex parte” implies that the respondent may not be notified in advance or doesn’t need to be present in court. The judge has the authority to make a decision based on the information provided by the petitioner.
This order stays in effect for a fixed term as decided by the court, typically up to two years or until modified or dismissed by the judge after another hearing.
Upon being granted an ex parte order, you may not go back to court for a full hearing, unless:
- You have requested additional protection than what an ex parte order can give you
- The judge has decided not to grant you the extent of protection you requested in the ex parte order
- The respondent has requested a hearing upon being served with your ex parte order
2. Full Order
If you are seeking a full order for protection, both you and the respondent will have to present evidence and witness testimonies to establish why the order should or should not be issued.
If the order is issued, it can stay in effect for up to two years. Once it expires and you need further protection, you may file a petition to extend it.
If the abuser violates an order for protection at any point in time on two or more occasions, or if you have been issued two or more orders against the same abuser, you can ask for a full order for up to 50 years.
If the abuser does not violate the order for five years, they can request the court to modify the order by proving that their circumstances have undergone significant change.
No human should be subjected to domestic violence. However, it is an unfortunate reality. If you are stuck in a situation where you fear for your and your children’s safety, you should call the police as soon as you can. Further, if you are considering getting an OFP, you will do well to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota to get answers to all your pressing questions. A lawyer can also file the necessary paperwork on your behalf, and represent you in court, thereby proving to be the reliable ally you need.
Speak to Our Compassionate Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota Immediately
Filing an Order for Protection comes with substantial repercussions for the petitioner as well as the respondent. It is, therefore, advisable to seek sound legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota before taking any action. For any further information or help with obtaining or contesting an OFP, feel free to call the team at Carlson & Jones at (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form.