Orders for Protection in Minnesota
An Order for Protection (OFP) is a court order that restrains one person from having contact with another on the grounds there has been an act or acts of domestic violence. They can be used in instances of domestic violence or threats of violence. An Order for Protection (OFP) is different from a harassment restraining order. OFPs are used against family members or loved ones with whom you have a domestic relationship. Orders for Protection are typically needed in relation to instances of child or spousal abuse. It is common for an OFP to accompany a criminal investigation for domestic assault. Violating an Order for Protection is itself a crime. The types of Orders for Protection available include:
An exclusionary protection order – forcing one party to stay away from the victim’s home immediately. As a result, one spouse is often required to leave the shared home.
A non-exclusionary protection order – under this type of order, both parties can live together so long as the respondent does not harm or threaten the victim (the petitioner).
When Orders for Protection are available:
- When the parties are relatives, meaning cousins, siblings, parents, or other familial relationships.
- If the parties share a child.
- If the parties were involved in a romantic or sexual relationship or have lived together
- If the parties are or were or were married
Filing an Order for Protection in Minnesota
There are many circumstances that might warrant filing for an Order for protection. Grounds for an Order for Protection include:
- Someone threatens you or your children with physical harm
- You have been assaulted
- Your child or children have been assaulted
- Instances of inappropriate sexual contact involving children.
- Instances of non consensual or forced sexual contact with adults or children
An Order for Protection is a strong weapon in preventing future instances of domestic violence or threats. In the event an Order for Protection is needed to protect you or your children, you can also ask for temporary custody, restitution, and some other remedies related to the domestic violence or threats.
Defending against an Order for Protection
If someone files for an Order for Protection against you, you have an absolute right to fight the OFP. If the reviewing judge believes there the Petitioner has included claims that, if proven, would warrant an Order for Protection, an Ex Parte OFP will be issued. An Ex Parte Order for Protection is a temporary order protecting the Petitioner until the matter can be heard in Court. If an Ex Parte Order for Protection is granted, you will be served a copy and given just a matter of days to respond.
If you do not request a hearing within a few days of receiving the order, you automatically lose the right to challenge the OFP and a permanent OFP will go into effect. At such a hearing, you will have the ability to present testimony and other evidence to defend against the accusations. The burden of proof falls on the Petitioner, but preparation is key. Often, simply having your exhibits prepared and knowing the rules of evidence is enough to win your case.
Why hire an Order For Protection Lawyer?
All too often, the difference in an Order for Protection hearing is which party is better prepared. It is usually not enough to show up and simply state your case. Having a lawyer who can help prepare your testimony and exhibits can make the difference between winning and losing. Your attorney’s knowledge of the rules of procedure and rule of evidence will have a significant impact on what evidence the opposing party is allowed to introduce. Usually, the outcome of an Order for Protection hearing will impact your life in a significant way. Having an experienced and knowledgeable advocate can be a priceless weapon in ensuring a favorable result.