In Minnesota, a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) may be put into place after certain criminal charges. The terms of a DANCO prohibit the defendant from making specific direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim.
Direct contact can include going to the other party’s home or place of work, making phone calls, or sending emails. An example of indirect contact is relaying a message through a third party, perhaps asking someone to pass along a letter.
When the two parties live together or share children, DANCOs can disrupt family life.
DANCOs are a serious matter, and defendants face stiff penalties for violating them. If a DANCO has been put into place, you likely have many questions about your rights and responsibilities.
When is a DANCO put into place?
A domestic abuse no contact order may be put into place after these criminal charges:
- Domestic abuse, as defined by MN Statute 518B.01.
- Harassing or stalking a family or household member.
- Minnesota’s legal definition of “a family or household member” includes blood relatives; current and former spouses; people who share a child; current and former roommates; parents and children; and persons in a dating relationship.
- Violating an order of protection.
- Violating a prior DANCO.
A DANCO can be put into effect either pretrial or as post-conviction probationary order.
What happens if I violate the terms of the DANCO?
Violating a DANCO has its own penalties, including jail time, fines, and mandatory counseling. In some cases, the penalties just for violating the DANCO may be stiffer than for the underlying charges.
You could even be charged with a felony for violating a DANCO if:
- You’ve had prior domestic violence-related offense convictions within a certain time frame.
- You’re in possession of a “dangerous weapon,” as defined by MN Statute 609.02, while violating the terms of the DANCO.
In addition, a warrantless arrest can be made, based on probable cause. This means that a police officer can arrest you if they can verify the DANCO and they have adequate reason to believe you violated the order. In this type of arrest, the officer does not need to witness the violation.
If you have a DANCO in place, it’s important that you follow all the terms even if it is inconvenient or difficult. You should be careful not to make any prohibited contact with the other party, even if they are the one initiating it.
How long does a DANCO last?
How long a DANCO remains in place varies. The judge who orders the DANCO will decide the time frame.
You have the right to request that a DANCO be modified or even lifted.
How can I have a DANCO lifted or modified?
Only a judge can drop or make changes to a DANCO. You will need an experienced criminal attorney to help you with your request.
There are many reasons you may ask for a DANCO to be modified. If children are involved, having a relationship with them becomes virtually impossible if you can’t contact the other parent. You could ask for the DANCO terms to be modified so you can see and visit your children.
Or you may live with the other party. You may need to access your home to retrieve personal belongings or make contact with other family members who live there.
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you want to petition to have a DANCO dropped or modified, Attorney Kirk M. Anderson can give you the representation you deserve. We know the terms of a DANCO can make everyday life difficult, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.