Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Minesota Order For Protection Lawyer

If you have recently been served with a No Contact Order ... like an Order for Protection and/or a Harassment Order, you should talk to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  Often these orders are unfairly obtained ... and if you don't fight it, you could be subjected to significant restrictions to your personal freedoms and criminal consequences.  

What You Need to Know

The NO CONTACT Order for Protection is available to the family and household members of the abuser. "Family or household members" means the following people: current spouses, former spouses, parents and children, persons related by blood, persons who are currently residing together, persons who have resided together in the past, persons who have a child in common, a man and a woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father
persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship

If the person abused is a minor, then the minor's guardian may bring the petition on the minor's behalf.

Why You Need to Fight

An Order for Protection is a cheap, quick, and easy way to obtain temporary custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and possession of the house and everything in it. It is a crippling blow to the one who gets the order, who must quickly deal with the immediate issue of finding a place to live and not having access to his residence, while the accuser is comfortably moving on to further stages of the custody battle.

Worse, once an Order for Protection is obtained, this document is repeatedly photocopied, flagged, highlighted, waved around like a red flag, and referred to in ominous tones at every opportunity by counsel for the “victim.” Whether rightly or wrongly issued, it creates a bad first impression and predisposition for any judge, custody evaluator, guardian ad litem, or other third person involved with the case.

Because an Order for Protection can be such a powerful weapon, it is often abused. Many allegations of abuse are wholly fabricated. Many are gross exaggerations. Any physical contact during an argument becomes an assault. Any vague comment about future possibilities becomes a “threat.” For example, a client once retained me in a divorce, who had previously had an OFP issued against him for telling his wife that she would come to regret her decision to pursue divorce. The spouse said that made her feel threatened. The Court bought it, and issued the OFP.  

Worst Case Scenarios

The fact that OFPs are so often abused has all too often really bad results, such as:

False abuse claims can result in great advantage in custody cases, to the harm of children, who suffer from the lack of contact with the other parent. I’ve heard more than one judge state from the bench that he must “err on the side of caution” and grant the OFP. (This is contrary to law and downright asinine, because it doesn't take into consideration the harm that the erroneously issued OFP will have on the children). Nevertheless, this attitude is all too prevalent on the bench.  


Legitimate abuse claims can and do get rejected by judges who are biased in the other direction, denying orders for protection in the belief that the abuse claim is a fraudulent attempt to gain advantage in custody proceedings, when in fact the abuse was very real.

What Should You Do?

If you should be so unfortunate as to become the Respondent in Order for Protection proceedings, where custody and parenting time of children is at issue, it is extremely important to retain an experienced Minnesota OFP Attorney as soon as possible, so that your attorney has as much time as possible to prepare for the OFP hearing, including to subpoena witnesses if necessary. OFPs figure largely in child custody cases, even when they’re issued on behalf of the spouse only and not the children. It is essential to defend aggressively against them.

One road to go down... if the OFP Petitioner has ever committed acts of domestic abuse against you, it is almost always advisable to bring a counter-petition for an OFP yourself, to be heard at the same time as the Petitioner’s case against you. This requires that you act very fast once you are served.  Honestly, if you are the victim of domestic abuse and need an OFP, don’t delay in seeking it, because if you do, your motives will be called into question along the lines of: “if you really were in fear, why did you wait X number of days/weeks/months to seek and Order for Protection?” Better to drop everything and bring your Petition for an OFP immediately after the abuse occurs.

Fire Arms

An often overlooked consequence of an Order for Protection is that the person restrained thereby may not possess any firearm for as long as the order remains in effect.  Violation is a federal felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. So if you’re a hunter, this can be an important consideration.

Remember, you all too often only get one chance to fix stuff like this.  Get help today - a FREE CONSULTATION is only a phone call away.  Call the Rolloff Law Office: (612) 234-1165

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