A Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, commonly referred to as a DANCO, is a specific order that limits the contact one person can have with another. DANCOs are commonly issued in assault-related cases. DANCOs typically state that person X is not allowed to have any contact with person Y, either directly or indirectly. This means person X cannot text, call, send letters, or have any other type of contact with person Y. Some Judges will tell people that if Person Y gets in Person X’s car at a stoplight, Person X will have to get out and walk away. Other Judges state that even if Person Y is stranded in the middle of nowhere, Person X is not allowed to go pickup them up. A DANCO only goes one way so it does not prevent a protected party from contacting the person issued the DANCO (person X). Thus, extreme caution is advised when a DANCO is in place.
DANCOs also restrict indirect contact. This means no contact through a third party either. Nobody, not even friends or family members, can contact person Y on behalf of person X. Often, DANCOs state that person X cannot go to person Y’s home or work and that person X cannot go within a certain distance of person Y’s home or work. This means that if person X and person Y live together, then person X will have to find somewhere else to live or risk breaking the Judge’s order (and the law).
How does a DANCO start?
DANCOs exist in connection with a criminal case, typically a domestic-violence-related charge. Domestic assault charges can range from misdemeanor to felony based on the number of priors a person has and the specific facts of the case, like is a weapon is used or if a form of strangulation occurs. Once charges have been filed, a hearing is scheduled, and then a judge will determine whether a DANCO is necessary. The protected party (Person Y) often gets to provide their input on whether a DANCO should be issued, often this is through a special advocate. In some situations, a protected party states they do not want a DANCO, but a judge issues one anyway, because the judge makes the ultimate decision about whether to impose a DANCO.
What are the limits on a DANCO?
DANCOs can be modified to include special exceptions. The most common exception to the rules is the “police escort” exception. This exception allows person X to go to person Y’s home to get clothes, toiletries, and other personal items with a police officer or sheriff. Person X does not get to bring a U-Haul and move out, they just get to grab the items they need for their daily lives. It also means person X will have to contact local law enforcement schedule a time to make this happen. Other exceptions are phone contact and limited third-party contact. Often these exceptions are limited to certain topics like childcare or finances.