Many of you have heard about what are commonly called restraining orders, you may know people who have gotten them, or maybe someone who had one placed against them. They seem like a simple concept, I do not want someone around me, I get an order to keep them away, but the law on them is complex, and even though they are civil, not criminal court having one against you has serious consequences.
For starters, in Minnesota there are two types of civil restraining orders, Domestic Abuse Orders for Protection (OFPs), and Harassment Restraining Orders (HROs) OFPs are for domestic situations, people are or were married, dating, living together, have children together. HROs can be for related parties, or people with no family connection, i.e., neighbors, coworkers, etc.
To get either type of order one has to prove harassment, show that either abuse, or unwanted contact has happened. If that can be shown at a hearing in front of a judge an order can be granted ordering the other person to stay away. If they have any contact after the order is granted, they can be arrested and charged with a crime. Having a restraining order against you can have a major, negative impact on a custody case, can prevent you from possessing guns, can prevent you from getting certain jobs or licenses. A request for a restraining order is serious. If one is granted against you there are major consequences.