If you are charged with a domestic abuse crime in Minnesota, there’s a chance that a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO) will be issued against you. Regardless of whether you believe this was issued fairly or not, ignoring the DANCO or violating the order can have severe repercussions. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at DANCOs and explain how you can go about getting one dropped.
What Is A DANCO?
A Domestic Abuse No Contact Order is typically issued against a defendant who has been charged with domestic abuse or a similar crime like harassment or stalking. They can also be issued for violating previous protection orders or DANCOs. They are issued after you’ve been charged but prior to trial, but they can also be issued after a conviction as part of your probation order.
DANCOs vary a bit in terms of their language and what they prohibit. A standard DANCO typically states that a defendant is not to have any contact with a specific individual or family. This can mean in person or electronic contact, like in the form of a phone call, text message or e-mail. A DANCO can also prohibit “third party” contact, where you have someone relay a message to the named party in the DANCO. The order can also require you to stay a certain distance away from a person’s work, home or school. If you are living with the person named in the DANCO, you would need to move out or find temporary residence elsewhere while the DANCO is in place.
It’s also worth noting that oftentimes it is not up to the alleged victim to request a DANCO. The victim doesn’t need to “press charges” in order for a DANCO to be put in place. The state is the one pressing charges, so if during the course of filing the charges they request a DANCO, one may be allowed by a judge, and at that point only the judge can remove it.
Penalties For Violating A DANCO And How To Get One Dropped
Violating a DANCO is considered a criminal offense, punishable by separate penalties than the ones you could potentially face for the criminal domestic abuse-related crime. A first offense DANCO violation is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000. A second violation within 10 years is considered a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000. This charge also carries a 10-day minimum jail sentence and mandatory counseling.
Three or more violations within 10 years will be treated as a felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fines up to $10,000. A 30-day minimum jail sentence will be put in place if a dangerous weapon is used during the commission of the violation.
Getting a DANCO dropped is no easy task, as the state will generally ere on the side of caution during the pretrial stage. You’ll need to petition the judge to have the DANCO dropped, and even if both the defendant and the alleged victim are in favor of the order being removed, there still needs to exist clear and convincing evidence as to why doing so would be in the best interest of all parties. Some evidence or arguments that could be made in favor of getting the DANCO dropped include:
- A clear dispute in facts alleged by the prosecutor.
- Both sides wishing to have the DANCO dropped so they can participate in counseling
- Forcing one party to move out of the home could cause a significant disruption to the lives of children in the home.
A criminal defense attorney is your best bet at developing an argument that can get a pretrial DANCO dropped. It won’t be easy, but it can help you move on with your life as you wait for the criminal case to play out. So if you need help with a pretrial DANCO or assistance defending yourself against domestic abuse-related charges, reach out to the experienced legal team at Appelman Law Firm today for you free case review.