OFP, HRO, DANCO, oh my! These convoluted terms can throw anyone off, especially when they are in the midst of a legal battle. Each term refers to an order that is put in place when a person alleges they are afraid of unwanted contact. However, the intentions of some filing these orders are not always pure. While parsing out the meaning of legal jargon can seem intimidating, the difference between these terms is actually quite straightforward. If you would like more information, contact Karalus Law today.

What is an OFP?

An Order for Protection (OFP) is filed when there are allegations of pre-existing domestic abuse. This is a civil order, meaning that it doesn’t necessarily have to come as a result of conduct that a person is being or has been criminally charged for. A person must be alleged to have harmed, have threatened to harm, or interrupted the person filing from calling 911 to have an OFP granted against them. The person must have or have had a dating, sexual, roommate or familial relationship with the alleged harmer. ¹

An OFP is flexible and could mean many things in different circumstances. Examples of restrictions/compulsions the court might inflict are: restricting entrance to areas the person filing the OFP is in or is often in, mandatory counseling sessions, a change in parenting time or custody of a child, an order for restitution (the court mandating a payment to the person filing the OFP), a prohibition of owning firearms, and more. ¹

What is an HRO?

A Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) is similar to an OFP in that it doesn’t need to come as a result of a criminal charge. However, the alleged victim and assailant don’t need to have any type of special relationship. To receive an HRO a person must have allegedly assaulted, stalked, disseminated sexual images of, repeatedly targeted unwanted words or acts at, or blocked the entrance of a property to prevent access to an alleged victim. The person filing the OFP must claim an immediate and present danger of future harassment.

As you can imagine, an HRO can cover a wide range of conduct. ²

The result of an HRO is normally a no-contact order (meaning that a person is not allowed to contact or continue harassing another person).

What is a DANCO?

A Domestic Assault No Contact Order (DANCO) can be distinguished from an OFP or HRO in that it comes as the result of a criminal case.  A DANCO normally is ordered by the court in a criminal proceeding stemming from domestic abuse, harassment or stalking of a family or household member, or from a violation of an OFP. ³

The Consequences of an OFP, HRO or DANCO

If you are facing an OFP, an HRO, or a DANCO, the consequences can be severe. Unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof for an OFP, HRO, or DANCO is low. These tools are sometimes leveraged against a person to gain custody rights or child support. They can also be used for retaliation. These consequences can also be long-term. An OFP can be granted for as long as 50 years and can affect your right to purchase or own a firearm. Violating an OFP, HRO or DANCO is a crime that will appear on your criminal record.

It is important to understand the implications of an OFP, HRO or a DANCO being granted against you. The granting of these orders can be fought in court. Whether you are in the early stages of facing one of these orders or you are being prosecuted for the violation of one, it is important to contact a reliable criminal defense attorney in Minnesota to discuss your options. Reach out to Brian Karalus now to schedule a free consultation.

¹Minn. Stat. § 518B.01.

²Minn. Stat. § 609.748.

³Minn. Stat. § 629.75.