What happens if the abuser violates the order?
In addition to being held in contempt of court, violating a temporary or final harassment restraining order can be a misdemeanor, a gross misdemeanor, or a felony, depending on the circumstances.* For the violation to be a gross misdemeanor, the abuser would have to commit the violation within ten years of a prior conviction for a "qualified domestic violence-related crime" (or juvenile offense).** To read the list of crimes that are considered “qualified domestic violence-related offenses,” see MN Code § 609.02(16).
The abuser may be guilty of a felony for violating a harassment restraining order if the abuser violates the order under any of the following circumstances:
- within ten years of two or more convictions for qualified domestic violence-related offenses (or juvenile offenses);
- because of your actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, or national origin (as defined in MN Code § 363A.03);
- by falsely impersonating another person;
- while possessing a dangerous weapon;
- with the goal of influencing a juror or tampering with a judicial proceeding or retaliating against a judicial officer, prosecutor, defense attorney, or officer of the court because of the person’s performance of official duties in connection with a judicial proceeding; or
- against a victim who is under the age of 18 and the abuser is at least 36 months older than the victim.***
* MN Code § 609.748(6)(b),(c),(d),(h)
** MN Code § 609.748(6)(c)
*** MN Code § 609.748(d)