Ideally, all relationships will be happy and healthy without abuse. Unfortunately, sometimes your partner may threaten, or even use, violence. If children are in the situation, the matter becomes even more serious. Restraining orders were created for circumstances such as these.
If your spouse or significant other has hurt or threatened to hurt you, then you should take action to protect yourself and your loved ones.
On the other hand, if you’re on the receiving end of a restraining order, it’s important to understand and exercise your rights, particularly if you believe the protection order is unwarranted.
Topics We’ll Explore
- What is a Restraining Order in Colorado?
- How to Get a Restraining Order
- How Long Does a Permanent Restraining Order Last in Colorado?
- Are Restraining Orders Public Record?
- How to Fight a Restraining Order
- How to Drop a Restraining Order
- Get Help for a Restraining Order
What is a Restraining Order in Colorado?
Restraining orders are court orders placed on individuals to restrict them from being near a victim of violence or other abuse.
Depending on the situation, the order can remove an accused spouse from the home, give the accusing partner temporary custody of the pair’s children, and ensure the accused person cannot come near the accuser and order that expenses in the home be paid.
That means the accused partner may not go near the shared home, the children’s school, or the accusing spouse’s workplace.
How to Get a Restraining Order
Filing a restraining order in Colorado requires a two-step process.
Someone seeking a restraining order must first file for a temporary restraining order. Temporary restraining orders usually last about two weeks.
Typically, Colorado courts will only grant a temporary restraining order if they find the person requesting it is in “imminent danger.” However, this finding is not necessary for the court to issue a permanent protection order. In re Marriage of Fiffe, 140 P.3d 160 (Colo. App. 2005)
Next, both parties must attend a permanent protection order hearing. Here, each party will have the opportunity to present evidence, such as personal testimony, witness statements, and photographic or medical evidence.
The judge will then evaluate the evidence to determine if the accusation is credible and whether the accuser is in danger. If the judge feels that the accuser needs continued protection, the temporary order will be made permanent.
How Long Does a Permanent Restraining Order Last in Colorado?
As its name suggests, a permanent protection order is forever — or at least until one of the parties goes back to court to terminate it.
Are Restraining Orders Public Record?
Yes, permanent restraining orders are part of the public record. If a restraining order has been issued against you, it could show up as part of a background check even if you have not been convicted of a crime.
How to Fight a Restraining Order
First, contact an attorney right away. It is much easier to prevent a temporary restraining order from becoming permanent than it is to have the order dismissed later.
Restraining orders are meant to protect people from legitimate threats. Unfortunately, false allegations do happen. If you are defending yourself against false accusations, you will need as much evidence as possible to counter the claims and prove that the accusations against you are not true.
You can also appeal a permanent protection order after it has been issued. This is difficult and costly so you are better off fighting it from the start.
If You’ve Been Served a Restraining Order
If your spouse or partner has already served you with a temporary restraining order, it’s important that you do not violate the terms of that order. Breaking a restraining order can result in arrest, jail time, stiff fines and most certainly lead to the order becoming permanent as the court will assume you cannot abide by their order.
Violating a restraining order is a class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in three to 12 months in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. Two or more violations is a class 1 misdemeanor, which can lead to two years in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. C.R.S. § 18-1.3-501(3)(a). The subsequent conviction and jail sentence must be served consecutively to any previous jail sentences for this offense.
How to Drop a Restraining Order
If You are the Protected Person
The protected person can attempt to remove a permanent restraining order at any time by filing a motion with the court. Colo. Revised Statutes § 13-14-108(2)(a) However, judges are very leery of lifting restraining orders, so it will likely be an uphill battle.
If the Restraining Order is Against You
The restrained person faces a stricter criteria. If the court has granted someone a permanent restraining order against you, you cannot file a modification request for at least two years. Once a motion to modify is filed, you must wait an additional two years before filing again—regardless of whether the original motion is granted. C.R.S. § 13-14-108(2)(b).
Additionally, the court will not even consider the motion until you have submitted results from a fingerprint-based criminal record check. This has to be conducted within 90 days before filing the motion and must include a review of the state and federal criminal history records maintained by both the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI.)
You are also responsible for supplying fingerprints, as well as paying the costs associated with the background check. C.R.S. § 13-14-108
What the Court Considers
When determining whether to drop a restraining order against you, the judge will consider:
- whether you have complied with the terms of the protection order
- if you have met any conditions associated with the protection order
- whether you have completed any court-ordered domestic violence or sex offender treatment programs
- if you have voluntarily participated in any approved treatment program for domestic violence offenders or sex offenders
- how much time has passed since the restraining order was issued
- when the last incident of abuse or threat of harm occurred, or other relevant information concerning the safety and protection of the protected person
- whether you have subsequently been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, any misdemeanor or felony against the protected person, other than the original offense
- if any other restraining orders, protective orders, or protection orders have been issued against you
- the circumstances of both parties, including the relative proximity of your home, schools, or workplaces, and whether you have minor children together
- whether the continued safety of the other person depends upon the protection order remaining in place.
C.R.S. § 13-14-108
Get Help for a Restraining Order
A restraining order is not something Colorado courts take lightly. No matter which side of the law you’re on, you need an attorney to help you understand and exercise your rights. Call 303-688-0944 today to begin your case assessment.