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Originally Posted On: https://campolidefense.com/defending-against-an-order-for-protection-ofp-in-minnesota/
An Order for Protection (OFP) is a legal tool designed to provide safety and protection to individuals who are victims of domestic abuse, harassment, or violence. While these orders play a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being of those in distress, it’s important to recognize that there may be instances where someone is wrongly accused or unfairly subjected to an OFP. In this blog, we’ll explore the process of defending against an Order for Protection in Minnesota, the possible defenses, and the importance of seeking legal counsel in such situations.
Understanding Orders for Protection
An Order for Protection (OFP) in Minnesota is a court-issued document that limits the contact between an individual (the respondent) and the person seeking protection (the petitioner) due to concerns about the petitioner’s safety. OFPs can have far-reaching consequences, including restrictions on where the respondent can go, communication limitations, and potential criminal charges for violations.
What is domestic abuse?
According to Minn. Stat. § 518B.01 Domestic Abuse Act Domestic abuse means the following, if committed against a family or household member by a family or household member:
(1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
(2) the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
(3) terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, sexual extortion, or interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section
Family or household member means:
(1) spouses and former spouses;
(2) parents and children;
(3) persons related by blood;
(4) persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
(5) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;
(6) a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; and
(7) persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
How to defend against an OFP?
The first thing a person who receives an Order For Protection usually asks is what is next? Or how do I defend myself against it?
If you are served with an OFP the first thing you should do is seek legal advice. With how complex the orders are and how harsh the penalties are for not following the order, legal advice should be sought to help protect the person it was served on.
Once an attorney is retained to represent you, the next step would be to have the attorney contest the OFP by requesting a hearing before the judge who issued the temporary or ex-parte OFP. At the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence, including witness testimony, in order to establish whether an OFP is necessary.
Defending Against an Order for Protection
If you find yourself served with an OFP, it is important to understand that you have the right to defend against it. Here are some key steps and potential defenses to consider:
Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence that can help support your case. This may include text messages, emails, or other records that contradict the petitioner’s claims. Witness statements can also be valuable in showing that the allegations are untrue or exaggerated.
Legal Representation: Consider seeking legal counsel. An attorney experienced in OFP cases can guide you through the process, help you prepare a strong defense, and ensure that your rights are protected.
Cross-Examine the Petitioner: During the OFP hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the petitioner. This is a crucial step in challenging their claims and exposing any inconsistencies in their testimony.
Present Counter-Evidence: Your attorney can present evidence and witnesses to refute the petitioner’s claims. This may include providing alibis or demonstrating that the allegations are false or exaggerated.
Demonstrate Lack of Imminent Harm: To obtain an OFP, the petitioner must show that they are in immediate danger. If you can establish that there is no imminent harm, the court may not grant the order.
Challenge the Basis for the OFP: If the OFP is based on misinterpretations or misunderstandings, you can challenge the validity of the order. Miscommunication or mistaken identity can be valid defenses.
In defending against an Order for Protection in Minnesota, there are several potential outcomes:
Dismissal: If you successfully present your case and the court finds insufficient evidence or doubts the petitioner’s claims, the OFP may be dismissed.
Modification: In some cases, the OFP may be modified to allow limited contact or specific conditions, especially if the parties have a shared residence or other necessary interactions.
Denial of Extension: If the petitioner seeks an extension of the OFP, you can challenge the extension, and it may not be granted.
Order Issuance: If the court finds in favor of the petitioner, the OFP will be issued, and you must comply with its terms to avoid legal consequences.
Defending against an Order for Protection in Minnesota is a complex process, and the outcome can have a significant impact on your life. If you are wrongly accused, it is vital to seek legal representation, gather evidence, and present a strong defense. Remember that OFPs are meant to protect the safety of individuals, but they should not be misused. Seeking legal counsel is crucial in ensuring that your rights are upheld, and that justice prevails in your case.
If you are facing an Order for Protection (OFP), a need a strong legal representation that will stand for your rights and fight by your side, contact the criminal law specialist Lauren Campoli Esq.
Office of the Revisor of Statutes https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/518B.01
Minnesota Statutes Domestic Relations (Ch. 517-519A) § 518B.01 https://codes.findlaw.com/mn/domestic-relations-ch-517-519a/mn-st-sect-518b-01/