A frequently asked question by all parties involved in a domestic abuse no contact order (DANCO) is: how do you remove a DANCO? Commonly, one of the parties needs to bring a motion before the court asking that the DANCO be lifted (removed). The judge will listen to the parties at the hearing about the request before making a decision. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to remove a DANCO as a judge is the one who created it in the first place.

The protected party in the DANCO is often heard through a victim’s advocate. They should relay the victim’s wishes to the judge. Victims are also allowed to appear in court and request to address the court on your own. As the person who cannot have contact, you can request a modification or removal of a DANCO at any court hearing but no matter what any party says it is ultimately up to the judge to remove the order.

Another thing to remember is that DANCOs often have expiration dates, and if they do not, then their expiration is usually connected to some event. DANCOs created during a criminal case last either until the criminal case is over or until a judge removes it. This does not mean someone should plead guilty to a criminal charge just to try and remove the DANCO. Often a new Probationary DANCO is put into place at sentencing. This Probationary DANCO often has the same restrictions and exceptions as the prior DANCO but it lasts for the length of a person’s probation.

If a person is sentenced to a two-year probationary period, then the new DANCO will exist until the person finishes their two years of probation AND a Judge signs a cancellation of the DANCO. Even if you finish probation, the DANCO may still be in place if a judge has yet to sign the cancellation order. Thus, it is very important to make sure a cancellation order is signed and to carry the cancellation order with you for a few weeks as the computer systems do not update very quickly.

DANCOs are serious judicial orders that carry potentially serious consequences. However, they are not to be feared so long as you understand them. While they can have a major impact on a person’s life and their residency, they do not last forever, and certain steps can be taken to try and limit the severity of their impact. The goal is to ensure the safety of the protected party not to punish people. With the right knowledge and legal guidance, a judge can draft a DANCO that is both limited and protective. Importantly, a judge decides to create the order, change the order, and remove the order, not an individual simply asking that it be removed.

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