The violaton of an Order for Protection in Minnesota can yield a number of penalties for those who are found to have done so, including criminal penalties, civil contempt and firearm possession implications.

Criminal penalties. Minnesota law provides misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony penalties for a violation of an OFP issued under the Domestic Abuse Act or under a similar law of another state, the District of Columbia, tribal lands, or U.S. territories. In addition, any violation of an OFP constitutes contempt of court and is subject to the penalties for contempt. A known violation of an OFP is a misdemeanor. The penalty is a gross misdemeanor if the person knowingly violates an OFP within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency. The penalty is a five-year felony if the person knowingly violates the order within ten years of the first of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offense convictions or adjudications of delinquency. Felony penalties also apply to persons who commit the violation while possessing a dangerous weapon. The law provides minimum sentences upon misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony convictions. The law also requires the court to order the defendant to participate in counseling or other appropriate programs selected by the court.

Statement of obligation and bond. The court may require the respondent to acknowledge an obligation to comply with an OFP on the record if the court finds that (1) the respondent has violated an OFP, and (2) there is reason to believe that the respondent will commit a further violation of the provisions of the order restraining the respondent from committing acts of domestic abuse, or excluding the respondent from the petitioner’s residence. The court also may require the respondent to post a bond sufficient to deter the respondent from committing additional violations. If the respondent refuses to comply with an order to acknowledge the obligation or to post a bond, the court must commit the respondent to the county jail during the term of the OFP or until the respondent complies.

Order to show cause. The court may issue an order to the respondent requiring the respondent to appear and show cause within 14 days why the respondent should not be found in contempt of court and punished. This order may be issued upon the filing of an affidavit by the petitioner, a peace officer, or an interested party designated by the court, alleging that the respondent has violated an OFP.

New order to replace expired order. If an OFP has expired between the time of an alleged violation and the court’s hearing on the violation, the court may grant a new OFP based solely on the respondent’s alleged violation of a prior order, which is effective until the hearing on the alleged violation of the prior order. If the court finds that the respondent has violated the order, the court may extend the relief granted in the new OFP for a fixed period, not to exceed one year, except when the court determines that a longer fixed period is appropriate.

Firearm and/or pistol possession. No person who has been convicted of domestic assault in Minnesota or elsewhere or of violating a domestic abuse OFP may possess a pistol unless three years have elapsed since the date of conviction and, during that time, the person has not been convicted of any other assault crime or OFP violation.

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Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine