In cases of alleged domestic violence, it is not uncommon for the victim to seek protection from the state of Minnesota. They can do this by seeking a protective order, sometimes called a restraining order. It is a legal document that states the alleged abuser has to remain a certain distance from the protected individual at all times — among other things.
How long will the order last?
A protective order is valid for up to one year. It may be possible to have it extended. Every case is different.
What does the order cover?
As previously stated, it says how far the alleged abuser has to stay from his or her victim. It may also cover temporary child custody and support issues, set a counseling requirement, offer restitution to the victim and set property limitations. Some are more detailed than others. It all depends on one’s relationship with the alleged victim.
If the order is violated…
If the order is violated, this is considered a serious offense in Minnesota. One may initially be charged with a misdemeanor and required to spend three days behind bars and attend counseling. For repeat, gross or weapon-related offenses, one may be incarcerated for up to five years or be ordered to pay a $10,000 bond and have to attend counseling sessions.
Is it possible to fight a protective order?
Yes, it may be possible. After the victim files for a protective order, a hearing will be held within 14 days — unless it is an emergency case, then the order will likely be granted on a temporary basis without a hearing. At the hearing, the accused has the right to defend him or herself in an effort to prevent the order from receiving approval. If the order is put into action after this hearing, one may appeal the decision. Legal counsel may be able to help with this, as well as address any domestic assault charges that may also come one’s way.