A civil protection order is put in place to protect someone from being harmed by another person. In the family law realm, civil protection orders are most often obtained in a domestic abuse situation.
It’s important to understand the process to obtain a restraining order in Colorado – whether you’re seeking one or one has been sought against you.
I Need Help with a Protection Order
Our family law attorneys help individuals of domestic abuse navigate the process to get a civil protection order. From the temporary civil protection order to the permanent protection order, our compassionate attorneys will be your advocate every step of the way. Call 303-688-0944 to get your free case assessment.
What is a Civil Protection Order?
You may know civil protection orders as restraining orders. Civil protection orders are issued by a court to keep one person (the restrained party) away from another person (the protected party).
The Colorado legislature has established that protection orders protect people from abuse, violence, and even death.
If you feel that you’re in jeopardy or that your physical safety or wellbeing is at risk, it is highly recommended that you speak to an attorney to ascertain your legal rights to ensure that you are protected under the law.
How to Get a Civil Protection Order
Get a Temporary Protection Order First
The first step to getting a restraining order is to fill out a verified complaint seeking a temporary protection order, or a TPO. You must file the complaint in the appropriate jurisdiction. This can be in the county where:
- you live
- the other party lives
- either of you works
For a TPO, you do not have to show that you have reported the incident to the police, that charges have been filed, or that you are working with the local district attorney’s office. C.R.S. 13-14-104.5 (1)(b)
Instead, you will outline the facts in the complaint so the judge has an understanding of your circumstances.
Temporary protection orders can be issued by state statute for a limited number of reasons.
TPOs aim to prevent:
- domestic abuse
- elder abuse
- sexual assault or abuse
What Happens at the Initial TPO Hearing
Once a verified complaint is filed, a hearing will be set fairly quickly; many times on the same day. At that hearing, the judge must be convinced you are in imminent danger.
The initial hearing is heard without the other party being present in the courtroom.
If the court believes there is imminent danger, the judge will issue a temporary protection order. At that time, another hearing will be set to determine if the temporary order should be made permanent.
Serving the Temporary Protection Order
Once you obtain that temporary order and a hearing date, the restrained party must be personally served with a copy of the protection order. The individual must also be made aware of the date, time, and location of the permanent protection order hearing.
For civil protection orders, the burden is on the party who sought the restraining order to have the TPO served.
You can use a private process server or the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s department will not charge a fee to serve a TPO if it involves domestic protection.
The hearing for the permanent protection order will be scheduled for not more than 14 days later.
What if the TPO Cannot be Served?
If a personal server or the sheriff’s office is unable to get the respondent served within two weeks of the TPO being issued, the court must issue a continuance and issue another hearing date. The court may grant additional continuances as needed until the TPO is served. C.R.S. 13-14-104.5 (10)
What to Do if You are Served with a TPO?
If you’re on the receiving end of a temporary protection order, we strongly recommend you talk with a lawyer.
Restraining orders can limit many of your freedoms. You may not be able to go back to your home, have contact with your children, or legally possess a firearm.
It’s very important that if you are served with a temporary protection order to be counseled about your rights and what you need to do to defend yourself in court.
The Permanent Restraining Order Hearing
At the permanent protection order hearing, the court will conduct a two-part analysis that includes hearing evidence and testimony.
What Must be Proven in Court
The court must determine by a preponderance of the evidence that:
“the respondent has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order and that unless restrained will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person.” C.R.S. 13-14-106 (1)(a)
If both of these elements are satisfied, the court will grant a permanent restraining order.
What Evidence Can I Use?
In Colorado, the Rules of Evidence govern what can be admitted for the permanent protection orders hearing. However, there is case law that interprets those rules. And judges are unique in how they admit evidence in court for these issues.
What evidence you can present to request a restraining order or to defend yourself in the state of Colorado is very complicated.
An attorney can help you figure out what you can present in court.
Postponing the Hearing
At the permanent protection orders hearing, it is possible to request a continuance. Both parties are entitled to a one-time, 14-day continuance.
Option to Extend the TPO
If the parties agree, the temporary protection order can be continued for no longer than one year.
Extending the temporary restraining order can allow an opportunity for the dust to settle and tempers to cool to see if the order should be made permanent.
How Long Does a Permanent Protection Order Last?
A civil protection order does not have to be renewed. However, even though the word permanent is included in the name, a restraining order does not necessarily last forever. Either party may request to modify the order. C.R.S. 13-14-108(2)
Colorado Restraining Order Attorneys
Our Family Law Team understands the stress and worry you’re experiencing right now. We can relieve some of that burden by helping you through the restraining order process. Call 303-688-0944 to begin a free case assessment. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911.