Harassment Restraining Orders
Minnesota law allows a person who is being harassed to petition the court to issue a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO). This court order may prevent further harassment of the Petitioner, order the Respondent not to contact Petitioner and their family at any time, and allow police to arrest the Respondent without a warrant for violating the HRO.
An HRO can be issued upon any of the following findings:
- Respondent harassed Petitioner by a single act of physical assault,
- Respondent harassed Petitioner by a single act of sexual assault, or
- Respondent committed repeated intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures intended to negatively affect the safety, security or privacy of the Petitioner.
Atticus Family Law has vast experience representing persons in Harassment Restraining Order proceedings. This includes both the Petitioners seeking an HRO as well as the Respondents against whom an HRO is filed.
Having legal counsel in an HRO proceeding is a wise decision. The ramifications of how the HRO is handled and its outcome are significant for both Petitioners and Respondents.
Petitioners must have good facts to meet the criteria for being granted an HRO. While two of the criteria (in bullet above) are clear, the third criterion can be quite tricky to prove: what is an intrusive act? How is intention proved? Was it clear the acts were unwanted?
Further, Petitioners need to be aware of the alternatives to Harassment Court to deal with related issues of family court, housing court, and conciliation court.
Respondents must be on guard -- if the HRO is granted, any reports that are made that the HRO has been violated will lead to the arrest of the Respondent. When a Petitioner and Respondent live near one another, work together, attend the same school, or have other circumstances where contact may be unavoidable, the issuance of an HRO may be a serious problem for the Respondent. Thus there is good reason to have experienced legal counsel advising the Respondent and representing them in the proceeding.
Whether you are considering filing a harassment restraining order or you have been served with HRO papers, Atticus Family Law can help you understand the law, the process, and the ramifications.