Domestic abuse is a very serious issue in the state of Minnesota, and allegations should never be taken lightly. The state has made order of protection available for domestic violence victims, which are designed to prevent more abuse from taking place. However, the process can be fairly complicated; many people feel it’s best to work with an attorney who understands Minnesota domestic violence laws to get the help they need.
Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act
The state of Minnesota’s laws on domestic abuse are very clear. In order for something to count as domestic abuse, the act must have been committed against a family or household member, such as a spouse, a former spouse, a parent or a child. A family or household member can also include:
- Blood relations;
- People living together (and people who used to live together);
- People who share a child;
- People who are expecting a child together; or
- People who are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship
The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act defines actual domestic abuse as physical harm, bodily injury or assault. It also includes terroristic threats, interference with a 9-1-1 call, or criminal sexual misconduct. Finally, the Domestic Abuse Act includes the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault.
Victims of domestic abuse can ask the court for what’s called an Order for Protection (or “OFP”).
Domestic Violence Protection
Under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act, there is relief available to victims of domestic abuse. A judge can enter an OFP, which is designed to:
- Stop the offending party from committing more domestic violence;
- Keep the offending party from showing up at the victim’s home, place of employment, or other places he or she frequents;
- Change or award temporary physical or legal custody of children or pets;
- Award temporary child support or spousal maintenance;
- Give someone temporary possession of the parties’ residence; or
- Order that the abuser attend counseling or other therapy, including anger management, parenting and domestic abuse classes
The court can make an OFP that’s good for up to two years, and it can be reviewed and extended if necessary.
Any adult victim can file a petition for an Order for Protection, and any family or household member can petition on behalf of the victim, as well. When it comes to children, any family or household member can file a petition on their behalf—and in some situations, an adult over the age of 25 may be able to file for an OFP for children, even if they’re not a family or household member.
If someone violates an OFP, they’re guilty of a crime; the first offense will earn them a misdemeanor charge that’s punishable by up to three months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Further violations are charged more aggressively, and can be considered gross misdemeanors or felonies.
Do You Need an OFP?
Call us at 763-323-6555 for a free, confidential consultation. We can discuss your case and give you a clear picture of your options for filing a request for protection with the court.