Domestic Abuse charges, Orders for Protection (OFP) and Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders (DANCO)

When someone contacts the police regarding a claim of domestic abuse it is common for the accused person to be arrested and criminally charged with domestic abuse. The accused person is usually held in jail until seen by a judge. The court may set bail and will normally set conditions of release that prohibit the accused person from returning home or having any contact with the person who reported the domestic abuse while the criminal case is pending.

Order for Protection

A person who reports domestic abuse may also petition the court for a Domestic Abuse Order for Protection, commonly referred to as an OFP. The definition of domestic abuse involving a family or household member and the legal process for obtaining and responding to an OFP are in Minnesota Statute 518B.01. The person seeking a domestic abuse OFP is considered the petitioner and the person being restrained (who must respond to the OFP) is considered the respondent. A domestic abuse OFP is a separate legal proceeding in civil court, so criminal charges of domestic abuse and any related civil OFP result in two separate court files, with separate hearings and court dates. A civil petition for OFP can also be filed without any involvement of the police or criminal charges.

A judge will review the petition for an OFP, and if there is an immediate and present danger of domestic abuse the court may grant an emergency ex parte order for protection without receiving any information from the respondent. The emergency ex parte OFP becomes effective as soon as it is personally served upon the respondent. Personal service is usually accomplished by having a law enforcement officer deliver a copy of the order to the respondent. An emergency ex parte OFP usually restrains the respondent from committing acts of domestic abuse, prohibits any contact with the petitioner (and often the petitioner’s children), and excludes the respondent from the petitioner’s residence and workplace. The OFP is normally scheduled for a hearing, or the respondent can request a hearing where the respondent has the right to present evidence about whether an OFP should be granted.

Domestic Abuse No Contact Order

When criminal domestic abuse charges are filed it is common for the court to also issue a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, commonly referred to as a DANCO, as provided in Minnesota Statute 629.75. The contact restrictions in a DANCO often mirror the no contact order in the criminal file and any civil OFP. It is not uncommon for an accused person to be subject to criminal charges, a DANCO and a civil OFP, all at the same time.

Any violation of a DANCO or civil OFP can be charged as a separate criminal offense, where the accused person is subject to additional jail time and other criminal consequences. In addition to the criminal consequences of domestic abuse charges and violations of a DANCO or domestic abuse OFP there are other collateral consequences, such as restrictions on possession of firearms, professional license problems, immigration consequences, and other things.

Criminal Consequences & Prior History

Criminal consequences for domestic abuse, violation of a DANCO or violation of an OFP get worse if the accused person has any prior history of similar offenses. The severity level of these criminal charges can quickly rise to gross misdemeanor or felony level charges based on any prior history of similar charges.

Domestic abuse charges, DANCO orders and civil OFPs often have drastic effects on a person’s life. An accused person can be excluded from their own home and prohibited from contact with their family. The timelines for the procedures to contest these court orders are short, so it is important to act quickly.

Facing Criminal Charges?

Bill Sherry, Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you need legal advice about domestic abuse charges, a domestic abuse no contact order, an order for protection, or violation of a DANCO or OFP in Minnesota, please contact me to get you the help you need. I understand the seriousness of criminal charges, and how they can affect your life. I can help. If you make the decision to work with me I will take good care of you and be with you every step of the way.

As an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney, Bill Sherry understands that legal problems don’t always happen during ordinary office hours. If you are facing a legal problem and need to talk with a lawyer right now, call Bill Sherry at 952-423-8423 for a free consultation.