It is often that people come to us saying that they need a restraining order against someone or need to defend themselves in a restraining order action. However, many times people confuse a restraining order and an order for protection. What is the difference?
Minnesota law allows for two types of protective orders – a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) and an Order for Protection (OFP). An HRO is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.748, and allows for people to bring an HRO against anyone who has “harassed” them. Harassment is defined as either a single incident of sexual assault; stalking; distributing private information without permission; or repeated intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that result in an adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another person. Harassment may also include targeted residential picketing or a pattern of attending public events after being notified that the behavior is harassing in nature. An HRO may be brought in the county of where the harassment occurred, or in the county where either party lives. It can result in an order requiring the harassing person to cease or avoid all harassment, to have no contact with a person, among other relief. An HRO can be issued without notice to the alleged harassing party, but once they receive notice a hearing is set so that they have the opportunity to dispute the order.
An Order for Protection (OFP), on the other hand, deals specifically with domestic violence. It is governed by the Domestic Abuse Act, Minnesota Statute Chapter 518B. An OFP may be granted if domestic abuse was committed against a family or household member by a family or household member. Domestic abuse can mean physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call. In OFP matters, compared to HROs, the Court has a lot more authority. The Court can restrain a party from committing acts of domestic abuse, exclude someone from a place of residence and/or areas of employment/schools, award temporary custody, award child support, etc. Similar to HROs, the alleged abusing party does not need notice prior to an OFP being issued, but that person has the right to request a hearing to dispute the claims if a hearing is not already scheduled.
Though both HROs and OFPs are protective orders, they are very different procedurally, in implementation, and in what relief can be ordered. There are also several criminal, civil, and immigration aspects that may impact you that you were not aware of in these types of cases. For these reasons, it is best to take these types of actions seriously.
Contact one of our experienced family law attorneys for a free consultation today – firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-746-2350.