Colorado Protection Order Lawyers
If you have been served with a protection order, you probably have many questions. What are these orders? How you will be affected? And what you can do to protect yourself from lifelong consequences?
Also known as a restraining order, a civil protection order protects one individual from another individual’s actions or threats. Every state, including Colorado, has some form of domestic violence restraining order law, with provisions for stalking and sexual assault as well. Protection orders are also issued against defendants in criminal proceedings, prohibiting them from harassing potential witnesses.
In Colorado, any victim of:
- Domestic abuse (13-14-101(2), C.R.S.)
- Stalking (18-3-602, C.R.S.)
- Sexual assault (18-3-402(1), C.R.S.)
- Unlawful sexual contact (18-3-404, C.R.S.)
- Abuse of the elderly or an at–risk adult
- Physical assault, threat, or other situation
Basically, if a person feels in danger, he or she can ask the court for a protection order. The court tends to err on the side of caution, which means there is very little proof required for an initial protection order. They can be issued against any adult or juvenile over the age of 10. The order can “protect” more than one person.
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is granted by a judge, usually after a hearing with just the person claiming to be in fear of his/her safety. This order is good for around 14 days; and a scheduled permanent protection order hearing must be set. The defendant in the case has to be personally served with the TRO and informed of the hearing. The plaintiff must also file an Affadavit of Service with the court.
A permanent protection order (PPO) is the same as a TRO, but it has no expiration date. It can restrain a defendant from the plaintiff’s home, work and public places commonly frequented. Needless to say, if a protection order involves a couple who lives together, that could mean kicking the defendant out of his/her home entirely.
At the PPO hearing, the defendant to the restraining order has the right to appear and contest the charge. In Colorado, the plaintiff has the burden of proof – and a good defense attorney can make sure the court sees it that way.
In 2013, a law was passed that states that a person charged with domestic violence must relinquish control of any firearms and any ammunition within 24 hours of release from incarceration or release from custody on bond; this includes anyone who has notified of or who has a protection order filed against him/her.
If a protection order is filed, you may lose access to your home, be unable to have contact with your children except while supervised by an agent of the court, and be stigmatized in both your personal and professional life.
Because of strict laws, oftentimes cases that don’t meet the standards of domestic violence end up getting prosecuted anyway. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is extremely important that you seek out an attorney right away to help mount the best defense possible.
The second form of protective order is against a defendant, as defined in C.R.S.A. § 18-1-1001. “There is hereby created a mandatory protection order…which shall remain in effect from the time that the person is advised of his or her rights at arraignment or the person's first appearance before the court and informed of such order until final disposition of the action. Such order shall restrain the person charged from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts charged.”
Mandatory protection orders are routinely issued against defendants when they are charged with a crime. Therefore, this is a criminal protection order, not a civil one. To dismiss or remove this protection order, you must contact your local district attorney’s office and/or domestic violence program.
Protection orders are not proof of guilt, but they involve a great deal of social stigma and create a presumption of guilt even when you are innocent. There are other consequences as well. A protection order could lead to you being barred from owning a firearm, and your name will end up on a permanent police registry. If you violate the terms of the protection order, even by accident, you could face new charges from a restraining order violation.
The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. is committed to providing every one of our clients with experienced and attentive representation to achieve the best possible outcome. If you are faced with the prospect of a restraining order, contact a Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorney today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free consultation.