A common question Mankey Law Office hears is “What if my significant other wants to drop the domestic assault charges against me?”
Once the police get involved and charges are filed for domestic assault, what was once a private has now morphed into the State of Minnesota v. Defendant. It is very difficult to get the government out of your private business once it has its prosecutorial hooks into a couple’s relationship.
The moral of this story is, don’t get the police involved unless it is absolutely necessary. Couples fight and sometimes it is necessary to call the police to diffuse a situation. People should should be aware that once the government is invited into the intimate details of your life, it’s a long process to get them out of your life.
One of the collateral consequences of being charged in Minnesota with domestic assault is a Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders (DANCO). A DANCO is requested by the prosecutor and granted by a presiding judge. DANCOs often accompany an Order for Protection (OFP) pursuant to the family law statutes. An OFP requires an alleged victim of domestic abuse petition the Court for an order seeking protection against the alleged assailant.
In an OFP, the Court has the power to address child custody, child support and related matters. The DANCO by contrast is most often requested by the prosecutor based on what the charges are and whether the alleged victim wants a DANCO. A prosecutor may inquire of the alleged victim what they desire vis-à-vis a protective order, but often the prosecutor will substitute his or her judgment for that of the alleged victim in what can be viewed as blatant paternalism.
If a Minnesota DANCO is in place, getting it dropped is a difficult undertaking. In all fairness to judges who issue DANCOs, they are concerned that if they lift a DANCO prematurely and another violent incident occurs the judge who lifted the DANCO will be vilified in the press.
Mankey Law Office has represented many defendants who have DANCOs against them. We get questions about what an alleged victim can do to get a DANCO lifted. There are few things to understand:
- The alleged victim must have input on whether the DANCO is lifted.
- It is easier to get a DANCO lifted in cases where the alleged victim is a man and the perpetrator is a wife or girlfriend.
- An alleged victim can contact the prosecutor’s office and speak to the victim/witness person in the office and request the DANCO be dropped at the defendant’s next court appearance.
- The alleged victim can also contact the defendant’s attorney and inform him or her that they want the DANCO dropped and are willing to come to court and tell the presiding judge that they want their loved one back home.
- It is necessary for the alleged victim to convince the court that he or she is not afraid of the defendant, that the conduct at issue was aberrant and suggest that the couple wishes to engage in counseling of some sort.
- There is no guarantee that such a request will be granted by the court and will depend in large part on how egregious the allegations are, whether it has happened before and how convincing and insistent an alleged victim is.
The Minneapolis-based law firm of Mankey Law Office has the years of experience in domestic assault cases and has had tremendous success in minimizing the damage to a defendant against whom a DANCO is ordered. If police must be called in a domestic abuse or assault situation, contact Matthew Mankey at Mankey Law Office and our team of experienced professionals can help.