What Is A Protection Order In Colorado?
There are two types of protection orders in Colorado. One is a criminal protection order, which is issued by the Court automatically when any person is charged with any crime stated in the criminal code. The Colorado Criminal Code is mainly in Title 18. Anytime a person is charged with a crime, the court must issue what is called a mandatory protection order protecting the alleged victim or witness of the charged crime. Mandatory means the Court has no choice but to issue the protection order. The order prohibits the defendant from harassing, molesting, interfering, retaliating, impeding the protected party(ies). This is the generic condition and the Court will never remove this condition, the other conditions are contacting or staying away from the victim or witness to the charged crime. This is commonly called no contact. This no contact also includes no contact directly or indirectly. This means you cannot ask or facilitate any other person, including friends, acquaintances, family members, or colleagues to contact the victim or witness to the case. Only your attorney or his or her agent is authorized to contact the victim or witness. No consumption or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs may also be a condition of the Protection Order. The Court may add any other reasonable and necessary condition to serve the ends of justice. If it’s a couple or the crime is classified as a “Domestic Violence”, the order also requires the defendant to leave the home and stay away from any place where the alleged victim or witness may be found. This may include the home the victim is staying at the time of the crime; even if the home is owned by the defendant. The victim having any possessory interest in the home would be enough for the Court to order the defendant to leave the home.
If the crime is also classified as a domestic violence, then the person is also prohibited from possessing or controlling or owning any guns, weapons, or ammunition. The defendant has to file an affidavit within a very short time that the defendant has no guns, weapons, or ammunition or has transferred the guns, weapons, or ammunition to another person who is entitled to possess the guns, weapons, or ammunition.
Criminal protection orders end automatically at the end of the case, when the case is either dismissed or the defendant has the paid all the court ordered fines and court costs and completed the sentence (probation or jail or community corrections or prison). If a prison sentence is imposed, then also completion of the mandatory parole for the respective class of felony is also required to close the case.
When a person is a victim in a criminal case, victim advocates who are there to help that victim and to suggest that they also obtain a civil protection order.
The life of a civil protection order, once made permanent, is far longer than a criminal protection order.
If you violate a civil protection order for any reason, the alleged victim can call the police. There is a central registry for all protection orders. Once the Court issues a protection order in a civil or a criminal case; then the court clerk enters the basic information of the protection order into a Protection Order Central Registry. The Police has access to this registry. Once a complaint is filed then the police checks the protection order central registry to see if it is a valid protection order. Once the protection is shown to exist on the central registry then the police can arrest you and charge you with a crime called Violation of Protection Order in addition to any other crime as the facts and circumstances demand. This will require the Court to issue another Mandatory Protection Order for this new criminal case.
Who Can Get A Civil Protection Order In Colorado?
Anyone can get a civil protection order, if they prove to the court, at the filing stage, that there is someone who is going to cause them imminent danger of harm to their life or health or someone living with then or related to them or their life or health. This may also include persons living with them or are their dependents. The harm must be immediate (“imminent”) and if they do not get this protection order from the court, nothing will stop this person from harming them or their property. Generally, it is done by an affidavit, which means it is under oath, and it is ex-parte. Ex-parte means the person requesting the protection order is the only person available to the judge. The person against whom the court order is requested is not present. It is a one-way street, and the judge gets all the information as to why the protection order is to be issued from that person requesting the civil protection order. This sounds unfair. Yes, it is. But the Court has to balance the risk of harm to the requestor and the due process rights of the person against whom the civil protection is requested. The reasoning is the risk of harm may be irreparable but the due process rights is affected only for a very short time of a week or two. Also, the person against whom the Temporary Protection Order has the opportunity to due process and a fair heating when he or she appears at the Temporary Protecting Order hearing.
In order for the civil protection order to be effective, the Petitioner (person making the request for the civil protection order) has to serve the court ordered protection order upon the Respondent (the person against whom the protection order is issued) in person.
This initial court civil protection order is “temporary”.
There are two steps in a civil protection order. One is a temporary protection order, and then there’s a permanent protection order.
At this point, it is only temporary, and the person has to contact the sheriff or a private process server to have the temporary civil protection order served. A process server is any person who is at least 18 years of age, unrelated to this case, who has to personally go and serve it on the named person that the protected person (person requesting) the civil protection order and relief from the court. The person against whom the civil protection order is issued will be called to the court on a certain date and time, which is mentioned in the citation for the temporary protection order. The temporary protection order issued by the court will also have a summons and a complaint. Once the person is served, then the person seeking the protection order has to file a Certificate of Service to the court, letting the court know that the named person has been served and has been ordered to come to court.
Then, the person asking for the protection order and the person against whom the protection order is sought must come to court. If the person asking for the protection order fails to show up, the case is dismissed. If the person against whom the protection order is being sought fails to show up, the court automatically makes the temporary protection order permanent. A permanent protection order lasts much longer than a criminal protection order and is far more difficult to vacate or modify.
Colorado has a special provision after a temporary protection order has been issued but not made permanent. At the first hearing, each party can request a 14-day extension or continuance. Each party gets only one such continuance each, unless both parties agree to have a longer period of extension. There is another provision where the judge gives each party an option to voluntarily agree to extend the temporary order for up to 12 months. If both parties agree to this option, then the case is continued to a new date to see if there is any violation. If there is no violation of the protection order with the agreed upon the extended time, the temporary protection order is usually automatically dismissed.
If you are the person against whom the civil protection order is issued and served you must act swiftly and not delay. You get only one chance to fight the allegations upon which the Court issued the temporary protection order. You do not want a temporary civil protection converted into a permanent protection order as it is very difficult and more expensive to vacate a permanent civil protection order than to deal with the temporary civil protection order.
For more information on Civil Protection Orders in Colorado, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 557-4425 today.