Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders in Minnesota Law
There is more than one type of Restraining Order in Minnesota law. Here are the most important:
- Order for Protection (OFP)
- Harassment Restraining Order (HRO)
- No Contact Condition of Pretrial Release
- Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO)
The first two begin in family court as civil motions by a person. The second two begin after a person is claimed to have committed a crime by the government.
The Minnesota laws creating the Order for Protection (OFP) and Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) remedies are similar in many ways. One key difference is that the OFP law requires a relationship between the parties while the HRO law does not. Leaving for another time how a person gets or defends against a court Petition for a OFP or HRO, for our immediate purpose the important thing is that once a person is named as a Respondent in either type of court Order, if that person has contact with the Petitioner or otherwise violates its terms, the Respondent can be charged with a crime. Often, these cases are charged as “Violation of an Order for Protection” or “Violation of a Harassment Restraining Order” as the case may be. These criminal charges are serious in their consequences. A person charged with one of these crimes needs help from an experienced defense lawyer.
In a criminal case where the prosecuting attorney claims a relationship and a victim, they will often ask the court for both a No Contact Condition of Pretrial Release; and a
Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO). Though the two sound like one thing they are two separate court orders with important differences.
In any criminal case the judge can set conditions of pretrial release, including bail. In domestic cases, the judge is often asked by the state to include a no-contact condition of pretrial release. If the defendant were proven to have violated a conditions of pretrial release, the court’s remedies include issuing an arrest warrant and revisiting the issue of pretrial release. (Pretrial release concerns mainly the court’s assuring defendant appearance at future court appearances, through trial or sentencing if any.)
The Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, often referred to by its acronym, DANCO, is a more recent development. It is similar to a civil OFP except that it originates in a criminal case. It is similar to a OFP in that, unlike a violation of a condition or pretrial release, a violation of a DANCO can be charged as a new, independent crime — with a new court file number and a potential for a separate conviction record and sentence.
Do you have a question about a Restraining Order? Give a call to Thomas Gallagher, Minneapolis Defense Attorney, at (612) 333-1500.
Is it possible to avoid a Restraining Order or get rid of one once it already exists? Like many things, it’s easier to prevent one than to get rid of one already issued by a court. There are significant differences in how to prevent them, and in how to get rid of them, depending upon what type.
In domestic criminal cases, often the witness did not request and does not want any kind of restraining order or no-contact order. The legal system in Minnesota generally victimizes these witnesses by taking away their ability to control their lives and associate with whomever they like, even though they are not accused of any crime. This leads many to seek legal advice and representation from a witness lawyer. Gallagher has been retained as a witness attorney (an attorney counseling and representing a witness) many times over the years. He is happy to answer questions by phone. This article he has written may also be helpful to you: How to Get Rid of a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order in Minnesota.