Domestic violence can impact its victims in many ways: emotionally, physically, financially, and legally. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that over 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually. For victims of domestic violence or abuse, it can be difficult for parties to leave and receive the help and protection they need.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Under Minnesota law, domestic abuse is an act committed against a family member or household member. This may be violence against a spouse, child, person related by blood, roommate, or a person with a significant romantic relationship. Acts constituting as domestic abuse include:

  • Physical or bodily harm
  • Infliction of fear of imminent physical or bodily harm
  • Terroristic threats
  • Criminal sexual conduct; or
  • Interference with an 911 call

What is an Order for Protection?

While domestic violence can require criminal proceedings, victims may have additional legal protections through an Order for Protection. An order for protection (OFP) is filed in family court and protects those who have been a victim of domestic violence. They prohibit the perpetrator from having direct or in-direct contact with the victim. This means the alleged-abuser cannot have physical contact or communication through text, phone calls, social media messages, or any other means of communication with the victim. They also cannot use third parties to communicate with the victim.

What is the Process for Filing for an Order for Protection?

To file an order for protection, the victim must outline the specifics of their situation. This may include detailed summaries of past incidents. The victim may opt to confidentially file their address and phone number with the court so the respondent will not have access to it. Once filed, the judge will review the paperwork to either issue or dismiss the order. If the order is issued, the respondent can request a hearing within a specific amount of days to dispute the OFP.

If disputed, a court hearing is held and each side will prove their case. The judge will make the final determination if the OFP will remain in place. If the court determines findings for the OFP, the OFP has a maximum expiration of two years but can be renewed once the two-year lapses with certain criteria.

What if the Opposing Party Violates the OFP?

Violations of an Order for Protection are taken seriously in the eyes of the law and constitute a crime. For a first offense, the respondent may face a misdemeanor charge. This can result in up to ninety days in prison and up to a $1,000 fine. If the respondent violation the same OFP within ten years again, the punishment increases to a gross misdemeanor with up to one year in prison and a fine of $3,000. Lastly, if there are two or more violations within a ten-year period, the respondent may be charged with a felony level offense. Felonies carry the harshest punishments with maximums of up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, consult with an attorney today. While our experience team can help to insure your rights are protected through the legal process, our lawyers can also refer you to additional organizations for emotional and physical support. Contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation at (763) 323-6555 or by submitting an online contact inquiry submission through our website.

Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper