What Happens If I Violate an Order for Protection?

An order for protection, sometimes called a restraining order or harassment order, is intended to prevent a victim from his or her abuser. If someone is accused of harassment, assault, domestic abuse, stalking, or other threatening behavior, the victim may obtain an order of protection to prevent their alleged abuser from contacting them. These orders are taken very seriously, and any violations are viewed as a direct disregard for court orders. If you are accused of violating a restraining order, it’s important that you understand the legal repercussions.

About Orders for Protection

Orders for protection often show up in domestic violence cases, though they can be granted in cases of stalking or harassment. Even if you were falsely accused, it’s important that you abide by a protection order and discuss your options with your attorney.

Protection orders may be either temporary or semi-permanent. Temporary restraining orders are usually used when a victim feels he or she needs immediate protection, though the order will only last a short while. The intention is that the short-term order will grant the victim enough time to file for and obtain a long-term order, which can last up to two years. However, these orders can be renewed.

Restraining Order Restrictions

There are many things that the alleged abuser is prohibited from doing under the restrictions imposed by a restraining order. Most notably, the order restricts the alleged abuser from contacting the alleged victim. This includes calling, emailing, visiting, or contacting in any other way, including on social media. Protective orders also require that the alleged abuser avoid the protected person’s place of work, home, and school, if he or she attends. The duration of these restrictions depends on the type of order issued, and the extent to which the alleged abuser must stay away may also vary.

Individuals with restraining orders must also not engage in other forms of harassment or violate any laws, as the repercussions could be more severe because of the active restraining order. However, it is also important to acknowledge that restraining orders may also extend exceptions for certain forms of contact if the alleged abuser and alleged victim must keep in contact for some reason, like the parenting of their child.

Penalties for Violations

Consequences for violations vary depending on the type of violation, the severity of the violation, and whether or not the victim was physically harmed. A person may be charged with a misdemeanor if he or she violates the protection order, but has no previous convictions for domestic assault. The consequences of a misdemeanor charge may also lead to up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Gross misdemeanor charges may result if the abuser violates the restraining order and has been previously convicted of domestic violence at some point during the past decade. This can result in up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $3,000.

The charges may be elevated to a felony if the abuser violates a restraining order and has been convicted of domestic violence crimes twice or more in the past 10 years. Felony restraining order violations can result in up to 5 years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.

If you are facing charges for a restraining order violation, we want to help you. Contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your case with our Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys.


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