Domestic violence and harassment during a relationship and after a relationship ends is a serious problem in the United States, and Minnesota is, unfortunately, no exception. When violence and harassment occur, victims can seek an order for protection or a harassment restraining order to prevent their abuser from coming around their home, workplace, or person. Obtaining a domestic violence order of protection requires a particular relationship or history of a relationship between the abuser and the victim, such as a past romantic relationship, blood relationship, or former roommates, just to name a few. If the abuser and the victim do not qualify under one of the provisions provided under the domestic violence order of protection statute, a victim may be able to obtain protection through a harassment restraining order, or HRO.
Under Minnesota statute §609.748, harassment includes several different types of behavior. These include even a single incident of physical or sexual assault, stalking as defined under §609.749, non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images, or repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures “that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another”. In other words, an HRO may be obtained not only because of a physical assault, but if the victim is being repeatedly pursued and badgered by the offender. An HRO could also be obtained due to targeted residential picketing or attending a public event when the offender has been notified his or her presence is harassing to someone else. Unlike a domestic violence order of protection, an HRO can be brought against “any adults or juveniles” who have engaged in the described conduct or encouraged others to do so.
The victim of the harassment will need to submit a sworn affidavit to the appropriate court. The affidavit will need to describe the details of the harassment and why the applicant believes the HRO is necessary. The judge will then examine the affidavit and can decide to grant an HRO for a period of up to two years. The offender can request an evidentiary hearing to challenge the HRO, and at that hearing, both parties may present evidence and call witnesses.
Harassment and domestic violence are serious issues and you need an experienced team on your side. Contact us today at (320) 299-4249 to talk about your case.