Pop culture tells us that Valentine’s Day is a time for love, from romantic first dates to the rekindling of old flames. Unfortunately, for many people it can be a painful reminder of a relationship gone bad and ended through a difficult breakup. You might be tempted to reach out to your ex or make a grand gesture to try and win them back.
That’s all well and good…unless you’ve had a protection order issued against you.
What Is a Protection Order?
Most people are familiar with the term restraining order, but not everyone is clear on protection orders. Protection order means any order that prohibits the restrained person from contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, stalking, or sexually assaulting or abusing any protected person OR from entering or remaining on premises, or from coming within a specified distance of a protected person or premises, OR from taking, transferring, concealing, harming, disposing of or threatening harm to an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by a protected person, OR any other provision to protect the protected person from imminent danger to life or health that is issued by a court of this state or a municipal court. C.R.S. § 13-14-101(2.4)(a) (2017).
The procedure for a protection order differs depending on whether it is a civil or criminal protection order. In a civil case, there are two stages a petitioner must go through to obtain a permanent protection order. First, he or she must obtain a temporary protection order. This order lasts up to 14 days, and in that time, there will be a hearing scheduled to determine whether the protection order shall be made permanent.
Because there is a lower burden of proof when it comes to civil actions, it’s very possible that the person restrained by the protection order was not actually a threat. Judges tend to err on the side of “caution,” so all the judge needs to find is that the person seeking the protection order is in imminent danger. This determination can be made initially based solely on the petition for the protection order. (How hard is it to act scared in court?)
If you’ve been served with a TRO and you have been falsely accused, it’s imperative that you seek out legal help immediately, because the future ramifications, to include potential damage to your reputation and career, can be immense.
How Can Reaching Out to My Ex Get Me Arrested?
If you were hoping to reconcile with your ex, a protection order makes it much more difficult and possibly criminal. The terms of a civil protection order can include, but are not limited to, restraining a person from threatening, molesting, injuring, and/or contacting the protected person or persons. C.R.S. § 13-14-105(1) (2017). Additionally, the order may exclude the person from the family home and award temporary care and custody of minor children. Id. If it is a criminal protection order issued pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-1-1001, it will, at a minimum, forbid the person charged from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts charged. Additionally, the order will likely prohibit contact directly or through third parties and to stay away from any place the protected person is likely to be found.
This means not only are you not allowed to contact your ex in person, but calling them on the phone, texting them, or sending them an email is also forbidden. Even buying them a gift or sending them roses on Valentine’s Day would be a crime under the law, no matter your intentions. Additionally, any criminal charge resulting from violating a protection order will likely be charged as an act of domestic violence.
What Happens If a Protection Order Has Been Filed Against You?
The ramifications of having a protection order of any kind issued against you can be severe. That’s why it’s important to defend yourself.
So what options do you have? First of all, a person has the right to contest a mandatory protection order. If you were involved in a domestic violence incident, you might have been arrested under Colorado’s mandatory arrest law, meaning that not only will you need to fight to be released from jail, but the alleged victim will not be able to “drop” the charges, even if they want to.
This law, while well-intentioned to protect victims who might be under coercion, often means that innocent people are arrested because of misunderstandings. This can have a serious impact on a person’s life. He or she will be forced to give up any firearms. It may affect his or her job, and personal relationships now and in the future.
If you are faced with any kind of protection order or domestic violence charges, you should seek out a reputable Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorney who can counsel you as to your rights and options. For a free consultation with the top-rated The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., please call (719) 401-0585. We know the season of love can also be the season of emotional battlefields, and we are here to assist you.