Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO)
A domestic abuse no contact order is issued by a judge relating to specific criminal charges, including:
(1) domestic abuse or assault
(2) harassment or stalking (when committed against a family or household member)
(3) violation of an order for protection
(4) violation of a prior domestic abuse no contact order
When the court issues a domestic abuse no contact order, the defendant is prohibited from any direct or indirect communication with the “protected party,” the persons and/or places listed on the no contact order. Direct contact includes, for example, face to face conversations or speaking on the phone. An example of indirect contact is asking a friend or another person to give information to the protected party at defendant’s request.
In some circumstances, the judge may limit the DANCO. For example, the judge may prohibit face to face contact between the defendant and the protected party, but allow limited phone conversations or text messaging. In other circumstances, the DANCO will prohibit a defendant from returning to the family home until the case is resolves or anger management/counseling is completed. If the parties have children in common, a judge may allow limited contact for purposes of parenting visitation planning.
A domestic abuse no contact order is typically issued as a pretrial order before resolution of a criminal case. However, the defendant must be given the opportunity to be heard, and the opportunity to present arguments to the judge, prior to issuing the DANCO.
The judge may also issue the DANCO as a condition of probation. A domestic abuse no contact order is independent of any condition of pretrial release or probation imposed on the defendant. Meaning, even if you post unconditional bail or satisfy all conditions of probation, the DANCO remains in effect until cancelled by the judge.
Criminal Penalties for Violation of DANCO
Any person who knows of the existence of a domestic abuse no contact order issued against the person and violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor. Penalties for a misdemeanor include up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
Any person convicted for second violation of a DANCO within 10 years of the first conviction is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Under Minnesota law, anyone convicted of a gross misdemeanor DANCO violation must be sentenced to a minimum of ten days in jail and must be ordered to participate in counseling or other appropriate programs selected by the judge.
Felony Level Penalties
A person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment up to five years and/or a $10,000 in the following circumstances:
(1) having a third conviction for domestic violence-related offense (including DANCO violations) in a 10-year period
(2) violating the DANCO while possessing a dangerous weapon.
With a felony conviction for violating a domestic abuse no contact order, the judge must impose at least a 30-day jail sentence as a condition of probation. Minnesota law also requires the judge to order the defendant to participate in counseling or other appropriate programs.
Violation of DANCO = Warrantless Arrest
Under Minnesota law, a peace officer is required to arrest and take into custody a person whom the peace officer has probable cause to believe has violated a domestic abuse no contact order, even if the violation of the order did not take place in the presence of the peace officer and the peace officer does not have an arrest warrant. The person shall be held in custody for at least 36 hours, excluding the day of arrest, Sundays, and holidays, unless the person is released earlier by a judge or judicial officer.