How Do I Obtain a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) in Minnesota?

Harassment is a serious issue that affects many people in Minnesota. Fortunately, the state provides legal protections for victims of harassment through the use of a harassment restraining order (HRO). An HRO is a court order that prohibits an individual from engaging in certain behavior that is causing harm or distress to another person. If you believe that you are a victim of harassment, you may be wondering how to obtain an HRO in Minnesota. This article will provide an overview of the process for obtaining an HRO in Minnesota, including the legal requirements and steps involved.

Legal Basis for a Harassment Restraining Order in Minnesota

The legal basis for obtaining an HRO in Minnesota is found in the state’s statutes. Specifically, Minnesota Statutes section 609.748 grants a person the right to seek a harassment restraining order against another. Under this statute, an HRO may be issued if the court finds that the respondent (the person against whom the HRO is sought) has engaged in harassment.

Harassment is defined as:

  • A single incident of physical assault or sexual assault
  • A single incident of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images
  • 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

It is important to note that the behavior must be intentional and have the effect of causing the victim to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated.

Steps Involved in Obtaining a Harassment Restraining Order

The process for obtaining an HRO in Minnesota typically involves the following steps:

Step 1: Filing a Petition

The first step in obtaining an HRO is to file a petition with the court. This can be done at the courthouse in the county where you live or where the harassment occurred. The petition must include specific information about the harassment that has occurred, including the date(s), time(s), and place(s) of the incidents, as well as the respondent’s name and address. It is important to be as detailed and specific as possible in the petition, as this information will be used to determine whether an HRO should be granted.

It is also important to note that when filing a petition, there is no notice given to the other party. This is because the goal of an HRO is to provide immediate relief to the victim. However, the respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the petition at a later date.

Step 2: Attending a Hearing

After the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether an HRO should be granted. The victim will be required to attend the hearing and testify under oath about the incidents of harassment. The respondent may also attend the hearing and present evidence to dispute the allegations.

If the court finds that the respondent has engaged in harassment and that an HRO is necessary to protect the victim, it will issue an order. Most HRO orders are issued for a period of two years, although they may be extended if there are violations during that time.

Step 3: Serving the Respondent

Once the HRO has been issued, it must be served on the respondent. This is typically done by a law enforcement officer, although it can also be done by a private process server.

HRO are typically valid for 2 years but can be extended if there are violations of the order during that period.