A temporary restraining order strictly from a law enforcement point of view is an enforceable court approved document prohibiting contact between a person(s) and another person(s). In Minnesota, temporary restraining orders are signed by judges and approved for a temporary amount of time until the next court appearance, which is usually 2-4 weeks from the time of the original order.
To obtain a restraining order, the petitioner (the party filing for the order) must go to the courthouse and fill out the necessary paperwork. They then pay a fee, around $250, to file the order and appear before a judge. The judge then reviews the application and determines if he will grant the restraining order. If it is denied, the process is over. If the judge approves it, the respondent (recipient of the order) then is served by a sheriff’s deputy.
Once the respondent receives the restraining order, they may then contest it at the next court date which is listed on the order. If the respondent does not appear at the court date or fails to show why the order should be dropped, the temporary restraining order becomes set for a general period of a year. After the year is up, the petitioner can file to have it continued.
If the respondent has any contact whatsoever via email, phone, letter, third person or in person with the petitioner they are violating the restraining order and can be criminally charged. Subsequent charges result in a higher level of crime.
Restraining orders are not the same as OFPs – Order for Protection. OFPs are issued in domestic cases whereas restraining orders are issued in non-domestic related cases. For example, if a husband has strangled his wife and she is in fear of him she can apply for an OFP. If it is granted, when the husband is served the OFP he must immediately remove himself from their residence and have absolutely no contact with his wife until the next court hearing.
To give an example of a restraining order, two neighbors who are belligerent towards one another may obtain restraining orders to avoid all contact. OFPs are granted in more of an emergency setting, when a person’s safety is at risk. Restraining orders are more to stop harassment and annoyance disputes.
Violations of OFPs generally result in the suspect going to jail. Violations of restraining orders generally result in the suspect receiving a citation if it’s the first violation.