HRO Defense Attorney Minneapolis
Harassment is a serious problem in Minnesota and all across the United States. A temporary or final harassment restraining order, or HRO, can order the harasser to stop the harassment and have no contact with you. It can prevent the harasser from coming to your home, workplace, or limit how close the harasser can get to you. It may include preventing phone calls, letters, and e-mails. Such orders are intended to reduce the risk of future harm to the victim.
What constitutes harassment in Minnesota?
What actions or behavior can lead to a harassment restraining order? Under Minnesota statute §609.748, for purposes of getting a harassment restraining order, harassment includes:
A single act of
- physical assault;
- sexual assault;
- using another person’s personal information, without consent, to invite, encourage, or solicit a third party to engage in a sexual act with the person (part of the crime of stalking) ; or
- non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images;
Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a significant negative effect or are intended to have a significant negative effect on your safety, security, or privacy;
Targeted residential picketing; or
A pattern of attending public events after being notified that the person’s presence at the event is harassing to another.
Types of harassment restraining orders
A temporary order remains in effect until a hearing is held on the final restraining order. The harasser does not have to be present in court, provided the judge reasonably believes that the respondent has harassed you. If a single incident is the basis for the petition, it must state that there is an immediate and present danger of harassment.
Final restraining orders usually are in effect for up to two years. However, if the court has issued two or more previous restraining orders against the same respondent, or the respondent has violated a restraining order two or more times, the HRO can be issued for up to 50 years.
Who may obtain a harassment restraining order?
If you are a victim of harassment than you can file for an HRO. It does not matter what type of relationship you have with the harasser. Note that a victim or an abuser can be either a man or a woman.
What are the steps for getting a harassment restraining order?
The harassment restraining order process begins with two pleadings:
- A petition, which alleges that a person has engaged in harassment. The petition also specifies the relief sought by the victim
- An affidavit, which provides all the facts supporting the allegations of harassment.
The paperwork is filed in the district court in the county where you live, where the harasser lives, or where the harassment took place. A judge may decide to issue you an ex parte temporary order on the day you file. If so, the temporary order will be in effect until there is a hearing on a final restraining order. The respondent must be properly served with the petition and any temporary restraining order.
If either the respondent or the petitioner wants to request a hearing, he or she must request the hearing within 20 days of service of the petition. If the respondent requests a hearing, you will get notice of the hearing date in the mail at least five days before the hearing.
Serving the harassment restraining order
Service, or personal delivery, of the legal paperwork, may be done by a law enforcement officer, a corrections officer, or an employee of a jail or correctional facility. In some circumstances, the law permits an officer to serve the respondent with a “short-form notification.” This form basically sets forth all of the facts of the restraining order. Also, the short-form notification will state that the restraining order is legally enforceable and that a copy of the order is available at the sheriff’s office or county court. Violation of any of the terms of the restraining order or notification may result in criminal charges.
Sometimes the respondent avoids service or hides from the officer. In that case, you can file an affidavit with the court. The judge can then allow the respondent to be served by publication, which means notice will be published in the newspaper and a copy mailed to the respondent.
Harassment restraining order violations in Minnesota
A violation of a harassment restraining order is a criminal offense. A first offense will be considered a misdemeanor. Second or additional violations may result in more serious charges.
Do you need a harassment restraining order?
If you are a victim of harassment, contact us at the Law Offices of Judith Samson to discuss your options.