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Harassment / Restraining Order
How to apply for a Harassment Restraining Order
Who may apply?
A person who is a victim of harassment may seek a restraining order from the Court. The parent or guardian of a minor who is the victim of harassment may seek a restraining order on behalf of the minor. The restraining order prohibits harassment and may be issued against an individual who has engaged in harassment, or against organizations that have sponsored or promoted harassment.
What is Harassment?
Under Minn. Stat. §609.748, harassment is defined as:
- A single incident of physical or sexual assault.
- 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, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser.
- Targeted residential picketing, which includes:
**marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversely affects the safety, security or privacy of an occupant of the building, and
**marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.
- A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one's presence is harassing to another.
Procedures for applying for a Restraining Order
(Forms are available at the Court Administrator's office or on the court forms website http://www.mncourts.gov)
Fill out the Petitioner's Affidavit and Petition for Restraining Order. The Affidavit should be as complete and as specific as possible. Dates, times, places, actions and conversations which lead the petitioner to feel harassed should be included in the narrative of the affidavit with the most recent acts listed first. Our office can provide forms and clerical assistance; check with us if you have any questions.
The petitioner is responsible for providing the respondent's complete name, address, or information that law enforcement can use to personally serve the respondent. If you cannot provide the address of the respondent, you may complete an affidavit so indicating and ask the court to publish your application in the local newspaper to accomplish service on the respondent (alleged harasser).
Filing with the Court
File the affidavit with the court administrator. A filing fee may be charged. If you qualify as low income, you may request a waiver by completing an "Affidavit for Proceeding Informa Pauperis" available from the court administrator.
Temporary Restraining Order
The court may issue a restraining order that may be effective for two years. The petitioner may request a hearing before a District court judge within 45 days of the filing of their petition.
Change of Address
If you move, it is important that the court knows where you are. Please keep the court administrator informed of any address changes.
You must attend the hearing if you want the court to issue a restraining order that could be effective for up to two years. Be prepared to present your case to the court. Bring any witnesses and documents to support your case with you to the hearing.
Important Notice to Respondent
If you are served with an Affidavit and Petition for Harassment Restraining Order, someone is seeking a restraining order against you. There may already be a restraining order against you. You may request a hearing before a District court judge within 45 days of being served with a petition.
Review the papers that you received carefully.
If you are aware of the existence of a restraining order and you violate it you may be charged with a misdemeanor, subject to a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or fine of $1,000.00. Repeated violations are gross misdemeanors that may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000.00 fine. Other violations are felonies that may result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of $10,000.00. A person who engages in a pattern of harassing conduct is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to ten years and/or a fine of $20,000.00. You may be be arrested and taken into custody without warrant if a peace officer has probable cause to believe you are in violations of the restraining order. Violation of the restraining order also constitutes contempt of court.