Know the Laws: Minnesota
UPDATED September 24, 2012
An order for protection is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family or household member.
One week after court, call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the DVPO from the clerk.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. Women can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. For more information please visit our Staying Safe page.
If you are not granted an order for protection, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Staying Safe page. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the MN State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.
If you were not granted an order for protection because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a "family or household member,” you may be able to seek protection through a harassment restraining order (HRO).
You could also reapply for an order for protection if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.
If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to someone at a domestic violence organization or a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.
If the abuser violates the order, you can call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. It is a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way. A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court. An abuser can be arrested, fined, jailed and ordered to participate in counseling or other appropriate programs. The order for protection is violated if the abuser does not follow every provision in the order.
It is a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. It is also important to have a copy of the order with you at all times.
You may file civil contempt charges against the abuser for violating the OFP, even if the police don’t make an arrest or file criminal charges. Civil charges may be filed in the same court that issued your order.
Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order it will help you have the order extended or modified.*
* MN Code 518B.01 Subd. 14 Violation Of An Order For Protection
Only a judge can modify or extend an order for protection. You will have to go back to the court where the order was issued, and file a motion to modify the order with the clerk of court. The abuser will have the opportunity to be present at this hearing. If you would like to extend your order, remember to file a motion at the court before the original order expires.
If you would like to extend your OFP you will have to show the judge that you need further protection. It might be helpful to mention if:
Your order for protection is good everywhere in the state of Minnesota. If you move to a different county, you might want to contact the court clerk in your new county to make sure that they have your order on file. Please see our Moving to Another State with a Protection Order page.
Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands. Different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders. You can find out about your state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, or the prosecutor in your area.
If you are moving out of state, you should call the battered women’s program in the state where you are going to find out how that state treats out-of-state orders.
If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111) for information on enforcing your order there.
Note: Civil protection orders may not be enforceable on military bases, and military protective orders may not be enforceable off base. Please check with your local police department, court clerk, and/or domestic violence advocate for more details. Please see our Military Info page for more information.*
* MN Code 518B.01 Subd. 19a. Entry and Enforcement of Foreign Protective Orders
Under MN state law, an employer cannot fire, discipline, threaten, or otherwise discriminate against an employee because s/he took a reasonable amount of time off work to seek protection against domestic abuse, either through an order for protection, harassment restraining order, or other relief.
If you do need to take time off work to protect yourself or your children from domestic abuse, it is your responsibility to give your employer 48 hours of advanced notice, unless you are in immediate danger or unless giving notice is impractical.
If your employer does violate this law, you can report the violation to the police and ask that criminal charges be pressed. You also have the option of bringing a civil suit for damages against your employer.
To read the exact wording of the law, please see subd.23 on the MN Statutes page.*
* MN Code 518B.01 Subd. 23