Violating Order for Protection & Minnesota Criminal Law

Domestic Violence Law and Minnesota Criminal Penalties for Violations of Orders for Protection

Any actual violation of an Order for Protection (OFP) is by definition subject to criminal penalties under Minnesota state law.

Minnesota Contempt of Court for Violation of Order for Protection

Any violation of a legally-valid OFP constitutes contempt of court and is subject to state penalties under Minnesota law for contempt of court. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14.

Minnesota Sentencing Law for Order for Protection Violation

Minnesota law provides misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony penalties for a violation of an Order for Protection (OFP) issued under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act – or even under any other similar laws of another state within the United States, the District of Columbia, tribal or “Indian” lands, or the United States territories. Further, if there is any violation of a legal sound Order for Protection, it constitutes (if proven) contempt of court, and it is subject to the penalties for contempt of court as determined by the Minnesota sentencing laws and guideline.

The penalty is a misdemeanor if the person knowing violates any OFP. A “knowing violation” means that the respondent knows of the existence of the order. Laws 2002, ch. 282, § 1.

The penalty is a gross misdemeanor if the person knowingly violates an OFP within ten (10) years of a previous qualified domestic violence related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency.

The penalty is a five-year felony if the person knowingly violates the order within ten years of the first of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offense convictions or adjudications of delinquency. Felony penalties also apply to persons who commit the violation while possessing a dangerous weapon. Minnesota law provides minimum sentences upon misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony convictions. Also Minnesota law requires the court to order the defendant to participate in counseling or other appropriate programs selected by the court. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14.

Minnesota Legal Requirements for Statement of Obligation and Bond for Respondent

A judge may require the respondent to acknowledge an obligation to comply with an Order for Protection (OFP) on the record if the judge finds that the respondent has violated an OFP previously and also that there is reason to believe that the respondent will commit a further violation of the terms or conditions of the order (1) restraining the respondent from committing any acts of domestic abuse or (2) excluding the respondent from the petitioner’s residence. The court also may require the respondent to post a bond sufficient to deter the respondent from committing additional violations. If the respondent refuses to comply with an order to acknowledge the obligation or to post a bond, the court must commit the respondent to the county jail during the term of the OFP or until the respondent complies. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14.

Discretionary Order to Show Cause Under Minnesota Law

The court may issue an order to the respondent requiring the respondent to appear and show cause within fourteen (14) days why the respondent should not be found in contempt of court and punished in accordance with Minnesota sentencing laws governing contempt of court. This order may be issued upon the filing of an affidavit by the petitioner, a peace officer, or an interested party designated by the court alleging the respondent has violated an Order for Protection (OFP) while in the state of Minnesota or under the jurisdiction of the same. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14.

Minnesota Law Allows a New Order for Protection to Replace an Expired Order for Protection Under Certain Circumstances

If an Order for Protection (OFP) has expired between the time of an alleged violation and the court’s hearing on the violation, the judge may grant a new OFP based solely on the respondent’s alleged violation of a prior order, which is effective until the hearing on the alleged violation of the prior order. If the judge finds that the respondent has violated the order, the judge may extend the relief granted in the new OFP for a fixed period of time (not to exceed one (1) year), except when the court determines that a longer fixed period is appropriate. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each situation has its own complexities and there are many aspects to discuss to understand the details of your situation and advise you accurately. We have an experienced attorney here who would be happy to analyze your situation’s circumstances and advise you of your legal rights and options. This can generally be accomplished during a one-hour meeting (which can be by phone). Our fee for a one-hour meeting is $300. Work beyond that initial hour is at usual hourly rates. We do not offer free consultations on this type of work.