Who can file for a harassment restraining order?
Anyone who is a victim of harassment, or the victim’s guardian or conservator, can file for a harassment restraining order (“HRO”) from district court.1 It does not matter what relationship the victim has with the harasser. To see the legal definition of harassment for the purposes of getting an HRO, go to What is the legal definition of harassment in Minnesota?
1 MN Code § 609.748(2)
Can a minor get a harassment restraining order?
A parent, step-parent, guardian, or conservator of a minor who is being harassed can file for the restraining order on the minor’s behalf.1
In addition, the judge can allow a minor to file on his/her own behalf if the minor can show that s/he is emancipated. Even without a court order declaring the minor to be emancipated, the minor can prove emancipation for these purposes if the minor can convince the judge that all of the following are true:
- the minor is living separate and apart from his/her parents;
- the minor is managing his/her own financial affairs; and
- the minor’s parents have given up (relinquished) control and authority over the minor, which can be proven by the actions of the parties or by a written agreement or other writing.2
1 MN Code § 609.748(2)(b)
2 MN Code § 609.748(2)(c)
Can I get a harassment restraining order against a minor?
The law does allow for a harassment restraining order to be issued against a minor who has committed harassment as defined by law.1
1 MN Code § 609.748(1)(b)
What are the steps for getting a harassment restraining order?
To file for an HRO, you can go to the district court in the county where you live, where the harasser lives, or where the harassment took place.1 A judge will decide whether or not to issue you an ex parte temporary order on the day you file. If so, the temporary order will be in effect until a hearing is held on a final restraining order.2 The petition and any temporary restraining order must be personally served on the respondent, which is usually done by a peace officer but could also be done by a corrections officer, including probation officers, court services officers, parole officers, and employees of jails or correctional facilities.3 For more information on service of the order, see How can a harassment restraining order be served?
If you or the respondent want to request a hearing, it must be done within 20 days of service of the petition.4 If the respondent requests a hearing, you will get notice of the hearing date in the mail at least five days before the hearing. If you request a hearing, the respondent must be personally served with notice at least five days before the hearing.5
1 MN Code § 609.748(2)
2 MN Code § 609.748(4)(d)
3 MN Code § 609.748(5b)
4 MN Code § 609.748(3)(d), (4)(f)
5 MN Code § 609.748(3)(a)
How can a harassment restraining order be served?
If you request that a hearing be held, the petition and any temporary restraining order must be personally served on the respondent at least five days before the hearing. If personal service cannot be completed at least five days before the hearing, the court can set a new hearing date.1
Service is usually done by law enforcement (“peace officer”) but it could also be done by a corrections officer, such as a probation officer, court services officer, parole officer, or an employee of a jail or correctional facility.2 As an alternative, the law allows a peace officer to serve the respondent with a “short-form notification” that notifies the respondent of the basic elements of the order. This may be appropriate, for example, if the respondent comes into contact with the police and the police learn that there is an unserved temporary restraining order. The short-form notification will have the following instructions to the respondent: “The restraining order is now enforceable. You must report to your nearest sheriff’s office or county court to obtain a copy of the restraining order. You are subject to arrest and may be charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony if you violate any of the terms of the restraining order or this short-form notification.”3
Note: If service was attempted by a peace officer but it was unsuccessful because the respondent is avoiding service by hiding or for any other reason, you can file an affidavit with the court to explain what happened. The judge can then allow the respondent to be “served” by publishing notice of the hearing in the newspaper for one week as well as mailing a copy to the respondent’s home or business if the addresses are known.4
1 MN Code § 609.748(3)(a)
2 MN Code § 609.748(5b)
3 MN Code § 609.748(5a)(a)
4 MN Code § 609.748(3)(b)
How much does it cost to file for a harassment restraining order?
There can be a filing fee for a harassment restraining order, depending on the facts of your case and who you are filing against. The district court can tell you what the fee is but it can likely be a few hundred dollars.1 However, if you allege that the respondent committed stalking, the fee will be waived. Also, if you are a low-income person and meet the income guidelines, the fee will be waived.2
1 According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch in 2022, the base filing fee is $285 plus possible “law library fees”
2 MN Code § 609.748(3a)