In Minnesota there are orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Although both protect an individual from another who is considered to be a danger, they are very different.

An order for protection, or OFP, is a document that is signed by a judge. This document tells an alleged abuser to stop abusing the individual who filed for the OFP or face severe legal consequences. OFPs provide protection from domestic violence to both men and women.

2 Types of OFPs

There are two types of OFPs. Those are the ex parte order for protection and the full order of protection.

A Minnesota ex parte temporary order of protection is given by a judge if he or she finds that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence and that protection is needed immediately. The term “Ex Parte” means that the judge bases their decision on the information that you have provided without the abuser having to appear in court. The protection will last up to two years, but may last longer than that. If that is the case, you will not have to return to court for a full hearing unless:

  • You request a hearing in order to ask for additional protection
  • The judge didn’t grant you all of the protection that you requested
  • The abuser requests a hearing once served with the ex parte order

Ultimately, the OFP in Minnesota orders the abuser not to abuse you and/or your children and prevent the abuser from entering your home or work. In other words, he or she cannot contact you.

If the judge opts to award you a full order of protection in Minnesota, you will have a court hearing scheduled. Full protection cannot be granted until both parties have attended a court hearing to tell their side of the story. The order lasts for two years, but you can request a hearing to have it extended. If the abuser violates the order two or more times or you’ve had to have an order issued two or more times, then the Minnesota OFP can be granted for up to 50 years.

Harassment Restraining Order

A Minnesota harassment restraining order instructs someone harassing you to stop harassing you or to not have any contact with you. A temporary order can be issued without the harasser being in court. This temporary order will remain in place until a court hearing is held to determine whether a two year restraining order is appropriate.

Violation of a restraining order results in the harasser being arrested or found in contempt of court. Restraining orders are meant for less severe offenses such as harassment and not instances in which physical harm or a threat of physical harm exists. Nevertheless, someone who harasses another can later physically harm a person.

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The differences between a Minnesota order for protection and a Minnesota restraining order is that an order for protection is issued for more violent situations and may also request more of the abuser, such as reimbursement for medical expenses if they injure the individual whole filed the order against them. A Minnesota harassment restraining order is more for situations when unwanted phone calls or stalking is taking place. Either way, these are very frightening situations.