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What Is a Colorado Protection Order?

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A Colorado protection order, often referred to as a restraining order, is a court-issued demand that an alleged abuser avoid making contact with his or her victim. While domestic violence cases are the most common scenario where a protection order would be used, other cases that might create the need for the order include stalking, sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact, abuse of an elderly or at-risk adult, or when someone has been physically assaulted or threatened by another person.

There are three types of protection orders available to victims of abuse in Colorado, including:

  • A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): This is a protection order that is available to abuse victims who are fearing for their immediate safety. The order lasts up to 14 days, at which time a Permanent Restraining Order (PRO) can be issued if needed.
  • A Permanent Restraining Order (PRO): Permanent Restraining Orders can last forever if need be, or can be modified or terminated by a judge if the situation warrants. However, the PRO must be in place for at least two years before the court will entertain a request to terminate it by the person against whom the restraining order is issued.
  • An Emergency Protection Order (EPO): This is a temporary restraining order, lasting only three days, which can be issued by the police during hours when the court cannot be accessed. The victim is encouraged to seek a TRO as soon as the court opens up and he or she is able. This is generally only done in domestic cases such as child custody or divorce.

There is a fourth type of Colorado protection order known as a Mandatory Protection Order, which is issued against a criminal defendant, preventing him or her from interacting with the victim of the crime or any witnesses to it.

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Here's What You Need to Know About Colorado Protection Orders

A protection order provides a number of provisions, depending on the unique details of the situation. Common provisions in a Colorado protection order include:

  • Restraining an abuser from causing harm to the victim, a minor child in the household, or household belongings.
  • Restraining a person from contacting the protected party or children living in the household.
  • Preventing the restrained person from entering the household or accessing the victim’s property.
  • Protecting the victim from having the restrained person show up at his or her workplace or school.
  • The order can also extend restraints against the restrained party toward household pets.

How can I Get a Colorado Protection Order?

If you need a Colorado protection order, you can obtain one through the following steps:

  • Gather the facts you need to show the court why a protection order is necessary. The type of behavior the judge will be looking for when considering the order include incidents of verbal abuse, physical abuse, threats, or damage to property.
  • The requesting party must complete an official form known as Verified Complaint/ Motion for Civil Protection Order. In order to fill out this form, you will need to have information such as the reason you are seeking the order, where you live and work, information about any children you share with the individual you are seeking the order against, and whether there are any current protection orders in place or active criminal cases.
  • File this form with the Clerk of the Court.
  • A temporary protection order hearing will be set, generally for the same day as you file the complaint. This hearing is very short and the person who is the subject of the restraining order is not present.
  • A judicial officer issues a temporary protection order and a permanent protection order hearing is scheduled for two weeks from the date of the initial hearing in order to determine if a permanent protection order is required.
  • The party you have sought the restraining order against must be served with a copy of the restraining order and information about the upcoming hearing. The order must be served by an employee of the Sheriff’s Office. You cannot serve a restraining order on the other party yourself, nor can you pay a private process server to do so, but if the other party is not formally served, you will not be able to move forward with requesting the permanent order.
  • A hearing is held to determine if the TRO should be converted to a PRO.

 

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What Can I Do If I Have a Colorado Protection Order Against Me?

If you are the subject of a Colorado protection order, it is important to understand that if you break the provisions of the order, you could face criminal penalties including up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines for the first offense. Do not have any contact with the victims listed in the order. Contact an experienced attorney who can provide assistance in the hearing in order to prevent your TRO from becoming a PRO. If you have already had a permanent restraining order taken out against you, you may ask the judge to modify or terminate that order after it has been in place for at least two years. Judges are more likely to dismiss the order if you have not violated it, you have committed no other times, and the victim no longer feels that they need the PRO.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or
    Summons
    01

    Arrest or
    Summons

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing
    02

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of
    Charges
    03

    Advisement of
    Charges

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)
    04

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony
    Charges)

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing
    05

    Pretrial Conference /
    Disposition
    Hearing

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment
    06

    Arraignment

    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing
    07

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness
    Conference
    08

    Pretrial Readiness
    Conference

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial
    09

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing
    Date
    10

    Sentencing
    Date

    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

What is the sentence for misdemeanors in Colorado?

  • Class 1

  • 6 to 18 months in county jail, and/or
  • $500 to $5,000 in fines
  • For extraordinary risk class 1 misdemeanors, the maximum jail sentence is 24 months.
  • For 3rd-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204), the maximum sentence can be 48 months if the victim was on duty as a:
    • Peace officer,
    • Emergency medical provider,
    • Firefighter, or
    • Mental health professional at the Department of Human Services.
  • Class 2

  • 3 to 12 months in county jail, and/or
  • $250 to $1,000 in fines
  • Class 3

  • Up to 6 months of county jail, and/or
  • $50 to $750 in fines2

What are Colorado felony penalties?

  • Class 1

  • Life imprisonment
  • No Colorado crime carries the death penalty.
  • Class 2

  • 8 – 24 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
  • $5,000 – $1,000,000
  • 5 years of mandatory parole if the offense is a crime of violence. Otherwise, 3 years of mandatory parole.
  • Class 3

  • 4 – 12 years in prison, and/or
  • $3,000 – $750,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 3 felonies, the maximum sentence is 16 years in prison.
  • Class 4

  • 2 – 6 years in prison, and/or
  • $2,000 – $500,000
  • 3 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 4 felonies, the maximum sentence is 8 years in prison.
  • Class 5

  • 1 – 3 years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 2 years of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 5 felonies, the maximum sentence is 4 years in prison.
  • Class 6

  • 1 – 18 months years in prison, and/or
  • $1,000 – $100,000
  • 1 year of mandatory parole
  • For extraordinary risk class 6 felonies, the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison.

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At Right Law Group, we understand the stress you are under. Our Criminal Defense Law Firm is here to guide you down the right path to your legal challenge. Whether you are facing your first DUI, a drug charge, need a restraining order, or are facing another type of criminal charge, our firm is committed to your well-being and protecting your rights the right way.

What does it mean to have a protection order against you?

If you have a protection order or restraining order against you in Colorado, that means you are restricted from contacting the other party as is detailed in the order. Each order could have different details, but for the most part, you will be barred from contacting them or coming within a certain distance of them during the duration of the order. If you believe the order has been issued unfairly, seek assistance from a domestic violence attorney.

What if I am not served for the restraining order?

In order for someone to get a temporary restraining order against you made permanent, they must have you personally served. They must be able to show proof of service in court, so if you are not personally served, the person cannot continue against you. If you are served with a temporary restraining order, you should seek an experienced defense attorney immediately.

How hard is it to fight a restraining order?

Fighting a restraining order can sometimes be very challenging. These orders are designed to protect victims from their abusers, which is a good thing. But if an order was issued incorrectly or unfairly, this can be heartbreaking for the person it was ordered against. An experienced attorney can help defend you from unfair domestic violence charges or restraining orders.

What happens if someone lies to get a restraining order?

If someone has made false accusations in order to get a restraining order, you have the ability to fight back in court. If you can prove that these allegations were false or even malicious in nature, you may have the ability to get the order dropped altogether.

What happens if you are served for a restraining order and do not show up at the court date?

If you are served with a temporary protection order you must show up, otherwise, the order will automatically be entered against you. If you fail to appear for the court date, the petitioner can ask that the magistrate automatically make the protection order against you permanent, and you will not be able to get it lifted for a minimum of two years. For that reason, it is incredibly important that you talk to an experienced civil protection order defense attorney as soon as you become aware of the filing.

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Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Attorney Near You

When you’re charged with domestic violence in Colorado or have a Colorado protection order against you, you need a lawyer who is familiar with the laws and knows how the court system works. Domestic violence attorneys work with you to help you establish a strong defense and protect your future and your family.

Contact us right away for a free case consultation.