Protection & Restraining Orders
Colorado Protection & Restraining Order Attorneys
A protection order is a type of restraining order issued by a Colorado court. The protection order is a directive from a judge that a person not contact or go near another person. These types of orders are used to stop stalking, harassment, and other coercive and controlling behavior. In cases involving domestic violence, a protection order may be the only answer.
Perpetrators of domestic violence will often never stop harassing and taunting their victims. These sorts of orders make it a criminal offense for the person who is restrained (the “restrained party”) from being near you and often from being near your home. However, these orders are drastic legal remedies and should never be sought lightly.
Read on to learn more about how Colorado protection orders work and the differences between a temporary and a permanent civil protection order.
Getting a Civil Protection Order
Just about any Colorado court has jurisdiction to issue a civil protection order. During a divorce, the domestic relations court issue a civil protection order. Courts are required to set and hear protection order hearings quickly, and they prioritize protection order hearings over other matters on their calendar.
This first hearing to issue a temporary protection order may occur “ex parte,” meaning without the other party present. If the court finds that imminent danger exists, it will issue the TPO. A process server must serve the TPO, although a sheriff can also serve it. A TPO may prohibit the other party from going to a particular place such as the marital home. However, the restrained party can get an exception so they can pick up their personal items with a police officer. The restrained party might be prohibited from being within a certain distance of the protected party and may also be prohibited from going near the protected party’s workplace.
Because courts often issues a TPO without the other party present, the court will set a hearing within 14 days from the date the you filed the TPO. At the hearing, the court will determine whether to dismiss the TPO or convert it to a PPO. Once the court issues the TPO, it can be a contempt of court or a criminal act to violate it.
Reasons for a Civil Protection Order (Grounds)
Our attorneys can get a protection order for any of the following:
- To prevent assaults and threatened bodily harm
- To prevent domestic abuse
- To prevent emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult
- To prevent sexual assault or abuse
- To prevent stalking
Other conduct may qualify as grounds for a protection order although the grounds above are some of the most common.
Temporary Civil Protection Orders
To issue a temporary civil protection order (a “TPO”), a court must find that an “imminent danger” exists. To determine whether such danger exists, courts consider just about any relevant evidence. By law, courts cannot deny a protection order because of the time between any abuse or threat of harm and the request for protection. However, although time is not a component, the person seeking protection must show an imminent danger. Of course, a showing of imminent danger implies that the actions occurred recently.
Although courts cannot technically consider when the events took place, a court may determine that no imminent danger exists if the events took place long ago. Once a TPO is issued, the court can make the temporary order permanent if it determines that the “restrained party” committed the acts and the person will continue to do so if he or she is not under continued and permanent restraint.
Permanent Protection Orders
A Colorado court can make a temporary civil protection order permanent. To do so, the Colorado court must hold a hearing and the protected party must present evidence that the protected party will continue to be in danger if it does not make the protection order permanent. After the hearing, the court will decide whether it should make the temporary protection order permanent. Once the Court issues the permanent protection order, the restrained party will forever be prohibited from contacting or going near the victim. It is extremely difficult to get rid of a permanent protection order once the court issues one.
Criminal vs. Civil Protection Orders
A civil protection order is a civil request made by the victim who is asking for protection. The victim sues in a civil court. In contrast, a criminal protection order is an order issued by a court. Criminal protection orders are also called “mandatory protection orders” and the court issues them after someone commits domestic violence or another crime requiring the issuance of a mandatory protection order. Mandatory protection orders are often broader than civil protection orders and prohibit contact with the victim of the crime and witnesses to the crime.
Violating a Protection Order
If a person violates a temporary or permanent protection order, that act constitutes a crime in the state of Colorado. Sometimes, the case will begin with a temporary civil protection order. The restrained party will then violate the civil protection order, be charged with a crime, and a mandatory protection order will then issue. Depending on how many times the protection order is violated and the severity of the violation, the consequences may differ.
The Intersection of Protection Orders & Children
Protection orders in divorce and custody cases dramatically increase the complexity. When the case involves children , a protection order must be tailored so that the victim is protected (often, the other spouse). However, the restrained party will likely still be entitled to parenting time. Divorce attorneys like the ones at Griffiths Law are accustomed to dealing with protection orders related to custody litigation.
Practical Considerations for Those Seeking a Protection Order
Whether you should request a protection order depends on your circumstances. While safety is paramount, there may be consequences concerning protection orders. For example, if the parties have children and the children are not protected by the protection order, there will not be any changes to any existing parenting time orders. It may be worth considering whether some communication between the parties limited to specific issues and in writing would be appropriate.
If this is necessary, you must be specific as possible to avoid any confusion about a violation of the order. If parenting time exchanges occur, such exchanges may need to be at a police station or through a supervised exchange program so that the parties do not have to interact. This protects the protected party from further contact, but also protects the restrained party from an inadvertent violation of the order.
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