After certain criminal charges are filed, a judge may place a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) on the defendant. A DANCO dictates what type of contact the defendant may or may not have with the alleged victim.
What is a DANCO?
A DANCO is different from an Order of Protection (OFP). A DANCO will only be placed when certain criteria are met. The related criminal charge must be at least one of the following:
- Any domestic abuse charge, as defined by Minnesota law
- Stalking or harassing a family member or household member
- Violating an order for protection
- Violating a prior DANCO
What Are the Terms of a DANCO?
The judge who issues the DANCO will decide the terms and restrictions. A DANCO will forbid certain direct or indirect contact between the two parties.
Direct contact includes phone calls, face-to-face contact, texts, letters, and emails. Indirect contact could be transmitting a message through a third party, perhaps a mutual friend or another family member.
A DANCO may require that the defendant stay away from the other party’s home. In cases where the two parties live together, this means that the defendant cannot return to their own home until a judge lifts or modifies the DANCO.
In some cases, the two parties may share minor children. Having a DANCO in place ultimately affects the entire family, as the defendant will not be able to make contact with their children.
What Should You Do if a DANCO Is in Place?
If you’re a defendant with a DANCO in place, it is critical that you follow the DANCO. We realize how difficult it can be, not having contact with your children or being banned from your own home.
It’s important to know that a DANCO violation carries its own penalties. If you violate the terms of the DANCO, no matter what your intentions are, you could face fines, jail time, and court-ordered counseling. These penalties are in addition to any you may face due to the underlying charge.
Never make contact with the alleged victim, even if they reach out to you first. In many cases, your contact will leave an electronic trail, including emails, phone records, or texts. A DANCO violation is often easy to prove in court. Violating the terms of your DANCO will only make your situation worse.
DANCOS and Warrantless Arrests
If a police officer has probable cause that you violated the DANCO, they may arrest you without a warrant. The officer does not have to observe you actually violating the order. They only need to:
(a) verify that a DANCO is in place, and
(b) have probable cause that you violated the order.
This warrantless arrest will result in you being in custody for 36 hours. This timeframe excludes the day of the arrest, Sundays, and holidays unless a judge releases you sooner. In reality, you could be in jail for longer than 36 hours.
How to Fight a DANCO
The alleged victim cannot lift a DANCO, even if they want to see you or have you come home. Only a judge can lift a DANCO. If you have a DANCO in place, you need an experienced attorney to help you have the order lifted.
A judge may refuse your request, modify the DANCO to allow certain contact, or even lift the DANCO entirely. There is a lot at stake, especially for defendants who must stay away from their own homes, or whose relationships with their families are compromised. You need an experienced criminal attorney to help you fight your DANCO.
DANCO Attorneys in St. Paul, MN
If a DANCO has been placed against you, time is of the essence. We’re experienced domestic assault attorneys. Our firm will fight not only your DANCO, but ensure the best possible outcome for the underlying charges. Please contact us today for a consultation.