There are over one million restraining orders in effect within the U.S. on any given day. In many situations a person is unaware that they are even subject to a restraining order until a sheriff shows up at their home or place of employment and serves them with this order. This can be a trying and confusing time but fortunately Minnesota provides an opportunity to respond and contest the order. So, the question in how does one respond to a harassment restraining order?
WHAT TO DO?
Once a person or entity has petitioned for a restraining order against you there are three possible options. The first option is for the court to deny their petition, in which case you have nothing to worry about and no obligation to respond. The second option is for the court to temporarily deny the restraining order but order that a hearing take place regarding the order in which both the petitioner and respondent should be present. The third, and final, option is for the court to grant the petitioner a temporary restraining order and then order that a hearing take place or leave it up to the respondent if they would like a hearing. If there us a hearing both the petitioner and respondent can argue their case and the judge will ultimately decide whether or not to issue the order.
If served with a restraining order it is important to request a hearing from the court unless the court has already scheduled one. Failure to do this in a timely manner can potentially result in the imposition of a restraining order. Finally, it is important to consider other things to be submitted to the court including a response to the petition for a restraining order and any other information that the court may find relevant.
The final step to challenging a restraining order is the hearing. It is important to come to this hearing prepared and ready to contest the petition. Any information supporting your response should be present including exhibits, witnesses and anything else that might be of significance. Ultimately the judge will decide whether or not to issue the order, the specifications of the order, and the length of the order.
If a restraining order is granted, whether a temporary order or actual order, it is important to recognize the consequences as a failure to abide by the order can result in criminal charges and lasting issues. To start with violating a restraining order can result in both misdemeanor and criminal charges. In addition, restraining orders can last anywhere up to two years long. There can also be numerous other collateral consequences to a restraining order including potential loss of employment, housing issues, and social stigma. In summary, restraining orders can have long lasting and serious consequences that last well beyond the hearing or the expiration of the order.
Responding to and contesting a harassment restraining order can often times be a complicated process and may require the help of an experienced attorney. Feel free to contact Thooft Law for a free consultation regarding responding to a restraining order and your chances of success.