Monday, December 12, 2011

Minnesota Domestic Assault (Explained)

If you have recently been charged with Domestic Assault, more likely than not you've have come all too familiar with the acronyms - DANCO, OFP and/or HRO.  Although all have there differences, the bottom line with each of these court orders is STAY AWAY.

What Are These Things?
  • OFP stands for Order for Protection;
  • HRO stands for Harassment Restraining Order; and
  • DANCO refers to a Domestic Assault No Contact Order.
How Do They Work?
Almost anyone can go to court and ask for either an OFP or an HRO.  (The other "no contact" order, the DANCO, is usually issued only by a judge as a part of a matter involving Domestic Abuse - preventing the individual charged does not have contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending.
OFPs and HROs are very unique and powerful orders.  They are unique due to the fact that a Court can (and often does) grant them without a hearing or even notice to the other party. Granted, the individual who is subject to the "no contact" order can ask for his/her day in court - but that process is highly time-sensitive and can be quite complicated.  Moreover, if an order is granted against you and you violate it - you could be subject to criminal charges.  This is why it is essential you speak to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney
Often, someone requests an OFP or HRO for their own protection by filing a motion with the court and submitting an affidavit that alleges unwanted contact or hear of harm.  If the court decides that that individual has met initial burden to show that domestic assault or harassment occurred, the court will issue the appropriate order and direct law enforcement to serve the order.  If the party on whom it is served, that person can demand a hearing, put his or her side of the story into consideration, and then ask the judge to decide whether or not the order should continue, be dismissed, or modified in some way.
Why You Should Be Concerned.
Many of these orders, if granted by the Court are quite powerful. Even the slightest violation is subject to criminal penalties and prosecution.  And, depending on what sort of criminal history the party charged has, the slightest slip-up opens that person up to charges that could be as serious as a Felony. 
What Should You Do?
What you've read here is a very general background on these orders.  If you or someone you love is the subject of one of them - or worse - has been alleged to have violated one, you should have an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side to talk you through this often difficult process.  Not only to address what might happen with the courts, but to also fill you in on the wide-ranging and often unforeseen collateral consequences.  
As a former prosecutor, I am quite aware of how these cases are handled.  Understand this, you might want to go it alone --- but the procedural aspects of these cases are quite unique. And, to go it alone --- well, you do so at your own risk.  
If you find want help, don’t hesitate to contact The Rolloff Law Office for a free consultation to discuss your case.  Call today: (612) 234-1165.

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