Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities with a DANCO
For those who have received a DANCO, understanding your rights and responsibilities is crucial. Don’t let lack of knowledge cost you jail time; this is a quick guide to a DANCO and what it entails.
What Is A DANCO?
DANCO stands for Domestic Abuse No Contact Order and is commonly given when a person is charged with a domestic crime involving an alleged victim. Under Minnesota Statute 629.75, DANCOs are issued for:
- Domestic abuse
- Harassment or Stalking
- Violation of an Order for Protection
- Violation of a prior DANCO
What is the Difference Between a DANCO and a No-Contact Condition of Release or Probation?
What is a DANCO Violation?
A DANCO violation occurs when you fail to abide by the court order. For example, Let’s say a judge orders a DANCO at the bail hearing forbidding the defendant from contacting or going within 500 feet of the alleged victim’s residence. If the defendant texts the alleged victim, who then shares the text with police, who share it with the county attorney’s office, the state can bring new charges against the defendant, even though their actions are connected with an existing case.
In contrast, under the same conditions, if the defendant had a no-contact order, the State would charge them with a conditional release violation instead of issuing a new charge.
What Is the Burden of Proof in a DANCO Violation Charge?
The burden of proof in a DANCO violation is like any other criminal charge, beyond a reasonable doubt. This means when alleged to violate a DANCO you have more protections than when alleged to violate a no-contact provision. At the same time, the consequences are almost always harsher. In a conditional release or probation violation, the State need only to prove the violation occurred by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
When is a DANCO Violation a Misdemeanor?
A first-time offender, or an offender without a previous qualified domestic crime in the past ten years, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
When is a DANCO Violation a Gross Misdemeanor?
A DANCO violation is a gross misdemeanor when a defendant has been previously convicted of a qualified domestic crime within the past ten years. Adjudications and juvenile delinquencies can also enhance a DANCO violation from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.
When is a DANCO Violation A Felony?
A DANCO violation is a felony if committed within ten years of two or more qualifying domestic offenses, and the violation involves the possession of a dangerous weapon.
Can a victim violate a DANCO?
Oftentimes, DANCOs are issued by a Court on no more than an out-of-court statement by the complainant to law enforcement. As the matter works itself out, the victim may try to coerce the defendant to contact them. In return, the alleged victim calls law enforcement claiming the defendant is in violation of the DANCO.
Although unfair, the DANCO is specific to a defendant in a criminal case. It is not possible for the party, albeit in the context of outrageous conduct, to violate a DANCO that they are the protected party in. However, there is available legal action to gain similar legal protection against the alleged victim, such as an HRO (Harassment Restraining Order).
How to Lift or Vacate a DANCO Violation?
Lifting or vacating a DANCO involves many intricacies, and it’s vital that your attorney is aware of the law and the best possible legal strategy for your case. While the process is at the judge’s discretion, it almost always involves the participation of the protected party; however, judges and courts will have differing methods. Often, even if clients are “guilty,” the allegations do not warrant separating relationships or marriages.
Maxwell Shek of Shek Law LLC has worked in many settings to successfully vacate DANCOs and dismiss DANCO violations. If you were charged with a DANCO violation and seek expert advice and affordable legal representation, contact my office today.