What types of orders for protection are available? How long do they last?
There are two types of orders for protection: ex parte orders and full orders. However, unlike most other states, Minnesota does not necessarily require that a hearing be held with both parties present before issuing a long-term (full) order. Minnesota law allows a judge to issue a long-term order on your first court date and then it is up to the respondent/abuser to fill out paperwork to request a hearing to object to the order.
When you go to court to file for an order for protection, a judge will give you an ex parte order for protection if s/he finds that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic abuse and you need immediate protection.1 “Ex parte” means that the abuser is not notified beforehand or present in court - the judge will make this decision based only on the information you provide. An ex parte order will be effective for a fixed period set by the court and can generally last for up to two years or until modified or vacated by the judge after a hearing.2 Once you’ve been granted an ex parte order, you do not need to return to court for a full hearing unless:
- You request a hearing to ask the judge for additional protection than what can be granted with an ex parte order;
- The judge decides not to grant you all of the protection that you asked for in the ex parte order; or
- The abuser requests a hearing once s/he is served with your ex parte order.
If a hearing is ordered based on reasons #1 or #2, above, the hearing will be held within seven days. If the hearing is ordered based on reason #3, above, it will be held within ten days of when the court receives his/her request, although either side may request a continuance in any of the circumstances. The court will notify you of the hearing by mail3 and you would need to go to the hearing in order to present evidence as to why the order should continue. Note: If the judge does not grant you an ex parte order on your first court date, the hearing for a full order for protection will be scheduled within 14 days.4
If there is a court hearing for a full order for protection, both parties (you and the abuser) should have a chance to present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. to prove why the order should/should not be issued. The order can last for up to two years, but you may petition to have it extended if you need further protection once the order expires.5
If the abuser has violated a prior or existing order for protection on two or more occasions, or if you have been granted two or more orders for protection against the abuser, the judge can grant a full order for up to 50 years.6 If after five years there have been no violations of the order, the abuser may ask the judge to modify (change) the order by proving there has been a significant change in circumstances.7
1 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(7)(a)
2 Minn. Stat. §§ 518B.01(7)(c); 518B.01(6)(b)
3 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(5)(b)-(e)
4 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(5)(a)
5 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(7)
6 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(6)(a)
7 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(11)(b)