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In Minnesota, dealing with protective orders can be confusing. There is both the “Harassment Restraining Order” and the “Order for Protection.” This article is an attempt to clarify some question about a Harassment Restraining Order.

Harassment and HRO Law tips to clarify questions about Harassment Restraining Orders

1. What is a Harassment Restraining Order?

A Harassment Restraining Order (also known as “HRO”) inhibits a person from contacting or harassing the petitioner (aka the “accuser”). No special relationship needs to be established between the parties for an HRO to be issued.

2. What is “harassment?”

The definition of “harassment” includes a single incident of physical or sexual assault, or repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety or security of another, regardless of the relationship between the parties. Minn Stat. § 609.748.

3. Who can file an HRO?

A person who is alleging “harassment” may seek an HRO or the parent or guardian of a minor who is a victim of harassment may seek an HRO on behalf of the minor.

4. What qualifies for an HRO?

An HRO includes an allegation that the other party:

  • committed a single act of physical or sexual assault; or
  • committed repeated intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures toward the petitioner and those acts, words, or gestures had a negative effect on the petitioner’s safety, security, or privacy. Minn Stat. § 609.748.

5. Where does someone file an HRO?

An HRO may be filed in the county of residence of either party or the county in which the alleged “harassment” occurred.

6. What is an “ex-parte HRO?”

The term “ex-parte” means the accused is not notified beforehand or present in court. If the judge reads an HRO petition and decides there is an immediate danger, the judge can order an ex-parte HRO.

7. How long does an HRO last?

An HRO is applicable for a fixed period of time determined by the court. It can generally last up to two years.

8. What can the accused do to defend themself?

The accused can request a hearing and defend themself against any allegations. After the hearing, the ex-parte HRO may be modified or removed by the judge.

9. What is an Order for Protection?

An Order for Protection (“OFP”) gives more protection than an HRO. However, there are relationship requirements for an OFP. In contrast, there is no relationship requirement for an HRO.

Martine Law, PLLC can help you file for or defend against an HRO or an OFP.

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