How Serious Is a No Contact Order Violation?

In a domestic assault matter, a court may issue a domestic abuse no contact order (DANCO). The DANCO can be issued as a condition of pretrial release or probation.

Under Minnesota law, a DANCO may be issued in the following circumstances:

  • After the report of a domestic abuse offense
  • After the report of harassment or stalking committed against a family or household member
  • After a violation of an order for protection
  • After a violation of a previous DANCO

The DANCO puts limitations on who the alleged offender can contact, and subsequently where they can go. A violation of a DANCO is serious, as it can result in criminal charges and penalties in addition to those for the underlying domestic abuse offense.

The Conditions of a DANCO

As it sounds, a domestic abuse no contact order prohibits the defendant from contacting the alleged victim. The defendant can neither communicate with the other party directly nor indirectly. This means that telephone calls, text messages, social media comments, and other forms of direct communication are forbidden. It also means that the defendant cannot send a friend or other third party to talk to the alleged victim on their behalf.

Because the defendant is barred from communicating with the alleged victim, this also means that if the two share a home, the defendant will not be allowed to return to it while the DANCO is in place. Additionally, if the two have children, the defendant would be unable to see them.

Arrests Made Because of DANCO Violations

If an allegation is made that the defendant violated the conditions of the DANCO, a police officer can arrest them without a warrant. It's important to note that the officer did not have to witness the violation to take the person into custody.

They need only the following:

  • Reasonable cause to believe the order was violated; and
  • Knowledge that a DANCO was issued

Upon arrest, the defendant may be taken into custody and held for a minimum of 36 hours, adding additional challenges to an already difficult situation.

The Penalties for a DANCO Violation

Defendants wanting to get back to their home, see their children, or even just reason with the alleged victim may be accused of violating the DANCO. Unfortunately, no matter how well-intentioned these actions are, doing so can come with harsh consequences.

The defendant may be subject to the following conviction penalties:

  • First offense: A person who knowingly violates a DANCO can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries up to 90 days' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Second offense: A gross misdemeanor charge is levied against a person who violates a DANCO for the second time within 10 years of a previous conviction for such conduct. Penalties include a minimum of 10 days' incarceration and mandatory completion of a court-ordered counseling program.
  • Third offense or an offense involving a weapon: If a person commits a third or subsequent DANCO violation or they use a dangerous weapon while committing the offense, they'll be charged with a felony. If they're convicted, they may be imprisoned for up to 5 years and/or fined up to $10,000. Additionally, they may be sentenced to a minimum of 30 days' imprisonment as a condition of probation and must also participate in court-ordered counseling.

If you've been accused of a no contact order violation in Minneapolis, call Brockton D. Hunter P.A. at (612) 979-1112 or contact us online for the defense you need.