This page and the information contained in it is merely a glimpse into some of the factors and considerations involved in a protection order case. If you really want to understand the law and how it relates your situation, an experienced attorney must evaluate your individual case and apply the law to your facts. The below information is no substitute for an attorney and should be read in light of the fact that there is much more in the law regarding protection orders than described here. Contact us today if you are considering obtaining legal assistance regarding a protection order or other issue.
A protection order is an order issued by a court telling one person (the restrained party) to stay away from and to not communicate with, threaten or hurt another person. A protection order is also known as a restraining order, a civil protective or restraining order, an injunction, or a "no contact" order.
A protection order may be issued to protect someone from the following acts:
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 stalking
If somebody is annoying you through continued and unwanted contact, that typically is not in and of itself enough to get a protection order. Oftentimes clients will say they are being harassed and want a protection order, but in such a case the likely solution is to call the police, as harassment is a crime - not a listed reason to obtain a protection order.
In order to obtain a protection order, one must fill out the proper paperwork requesting the order. The appropriate forms and instructions can be obtained from the Colorado Judicial Branch's website (see our "Links" tab for a link to these forms). Once filed, you will typically see a judge that very same day. The judge will decide if your motion requesting the protection order and the evidence you present convinces him or her that the other party poses an imminent danger to you. Note that this first hearing is held ex parte, meaning outside of the presence of the other party. If the judge believes the person poses an imminent danger to you, he will grant a temporary protection order and schedule a follow up court date to be held within 14 days.
During those days prior to your court date, you will be responsible for arranging to have the temporary protection order and all of the other associated documents personally served on the other party. Personal service should be performed by a disinterested party, typically a Sheriff's deputy or private process server. The restrained party must be served prior to the next court date.
At this next court date, the issue before the judge is whether the temporary protection order should be made permanent. You will have to convince the judge that it is likely that the restrained party will continue the acts that justified the order's issuance if the order is not made permanent. If the other party does not show up and was properly served, the order will be made permanent in the restrained party's absence. Once a permanent protection order is granted, it typically cannot be modified for 2 years.
For the applicable statute in Colorado regarding civil protection orders, see Colorado Revised Statutes 13-14-101 through 13-14-104 and can be accessed here.