Orders for protection (OFP) allow Minnesota spouses, family members, and roommates to limit their exposure to abusive individuals. Unfortunately, not all OFPs are pursued on honest grounds. Sometimes, alleged victims seek OFPs in hopes of unfairly securing custody, or simply punishing former partners. These orders may last for up to two years, causing undue suffering on behalf of the wrongful recipient.
If you receive an OFP, you risk losing custody of your children and access to your guns. However, you also enjoy a few options for recourse. If you successfully defend against or appeal your OFP, you can resume everyday life, free from an unfair label and the many consequences it can prompt. Read on to learn more about OFP defense in the state of Minnesota:
What to Do If You Receive Notice of an OFP
If you are served with an order for protection, contact a trusted legal representative as soon as possible. You will be required to appear in court at an assigned date. At this time, you will have the opportunity to explain your side of the story. You have the right to be represented by an attorney and to call upon witnesses for verification. As you await your hearing, abide by the ex parte order. Do not call or otherwise attempt to contact the person who filed the order, as such efforts could impact later defense of attempts at appeal.
Reversing OFP Through Appeal
If, despite your efforts at defense, the court approves an OFP, you may be eligible for appeal. Minnesota courts have been known to reverse OFPs during the appellate process in response to minimal evidence. For example, in a case highlighted by Minnesota Lawyer, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed an OFP alleging sexual abuse. In the initial OFP decision, the District Court judge allowed for the accused to later return if the allegation of sexual abuse was disproven. The Court of Appeals, however, claimed that the petitioner holds the “burden of proof” in such situations.
Although challenging, appealing an OFP is not out of the realm of possibility. To succeed, you’ll need quality counsel and clear indication that the petitioner’s accusations are unsubstantiated.
Ready to appeal your OFP? Don’t go it alone. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. to learn more about next steps and your chances of a favorable outcome.