In Colorado, individuals may seek a civil protection order that prohibits another person from having any indirect or direct contact with them. Civil protection orders, also called restraining orders, are available to anyone who reasonably believes they are in danger. That danger could come from a former romantic partner, a disgruntled business associate, or a volatile neighbor.
Whether you are the person seeking protection or the one being restrained, it’s important to understand the requirements and proper procedures for obtaining a civil protection order or no-contact order. Read this article to get a better understanding.
Talk to an Attorney About Getting a Civil Protection Order
A civil protection order can keep a tense situation from escalating beyond your control. The attorneys at Robinson & Henry have extensive experience with successfully filing restraining orders, disputing unjust protective orders, and fighting protection order violations. Call 303-688-0944 today to begin your case assessment. Si gustarÍa hablar con nosotros en español, por favor llámenos al 720-359-2442.
What is a No‐Contact Order?
A no-contact agreement is a binding contract between two parties — often the plaintiff and defendant in a criminal case involving domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or stalking.
This agreement stays in effect for the duration of the criminal case, or until the victim asks the court to lift it. This can only happen once it has been approved by the district attorney and the judge handling the case.
A restraining order is dismissed in its entirety as soon as the court approves a no-contact agreement. Although a no-contact agreement is typically reciprocal in nature, it may also be one-sided in certain situations.
What Does a No-Contact Order Prevent?
If you obtain a no-contact order against someone, they can be prohibited from contacting you through:
- writing letters
- communicating indirectly through a third party, such as a family member or friend
- physical contact
What is a Civil Protection Order?
People who fear for their safety can request a civil protection order from the court. A civil protection order, also known as a restraining order, is a court order that protects one person by prohibiting another person from committing certain acts.
In a civil case, the person seeking the protective order is the petitioner. The person who is being restrained is the respondent.
A Colorado court can authorize a civil protection order under the following circumstances in order to prevent:
- assaults and threatened bodily harm
- domestic abuse
- emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult
- sexual assault or abuse
Colo. Revised Statutes § 13-14-104.5
Do I Have to Involve the Police to Get a Civil Protection Order?
No, not necessarily. You can file for a civil protection order even if the respondent has never been arrested or charged with a crime.
How Do I Get a Civil Protection Order?
Step One: Submit a Request for a Civil Protection Order
You’ll submit form JDF 398 – Temporary Civil Protection Order to start the civil protection order process. Once you have filed for your civil protection order, the court will set a temporary protection order (TPO) hearing as soon as possible. The opposing party does not need to be physically present at the TPO hearing.
Step Two: Attend a Temporary Protection Order Hearing
At the temporary protection order hearing, the judge will review your civil protection order application and determine whether your life and/or health are in imminent danger. If the judge finds that you are in immediate danger, the court will issue a temporary protection order.
If the TPO is granted, the judge will set a permanent protection order hearing — within 14 days — for both you and the respondent to appear in court. This hearing is where the judge will decide whether the temporary civil protection order should become permanent.
Step Three: Have the Respondent Served
So you have successfully obtained a temporary protection order. It is now your responsibility to ensure the respondent receives a copy of the temporary civil protection order and the citation. You may have to pay for certified copies to be served on the respondent if the court determines the TRO is not to prevent domestic violence, domestic assault, sexual assault, or stalking.
A copy of the TPO may be served by anyone who is:
- at least 18 years old
- unaffiliated with the case
- understands the rules for proper service
You can also serve the respondent through the sheriff’s office in the jurisdiction where the respondent lives or through a process server.
The Cost of Having a TPO Served
State law allows sheriff’s offices to charge a fee to serve civil restraining orders. The maximum amount the sheriff’s department can charge you is $35. Some sheriff’s offices also charge mileage for the service. C.R.S. § 30-1-104
The price to use a private process server varies between companies. Their fees are often based on how quickly you need someone to be served, how many attempts it takes to serve the orders, and how far the process server must travel to serve the papers. While it’s not always the case, you should expect the service fee of a process server to exceed the sheriff’s office.
More Civil Protection Order Tips
Always keep a copy of the order with you. Additionally, you should:
- leave a copy of the TPO at any place from which the respondent is restrained. (i.e., your job or your child’s school)
- take a copy to your local police or sheriff’s department.
- keep a second copy with you until the respondent is served.
Step Four: Attend the Permanent Protection Order Hearing
At the permanent protection order (PPO) hearing, the respondent has an opportunity to present his or her side of the story. If you (the petitioner) do not show up for the hearing, the temporary order will be dropped.
What to Bring to Your Permanent Protection Order Hearing
If you have physical evidence — such as photos of injuries or damaged property, medical records, or police reports — you should bring these to the permanent protection orders hearing.
If you have witnesses who have seen your injuries or observed past arguments, you should ask them to attend the hearing.
When Does a Temporary Civil Protection Order Become Permanent?
If the respondent fails to show up to the hearing, the temporary civil protection order is converted to a permanent order without further notice. Additionally, a warrant may be issued for the respondent’s arrest. C.R.S. § 13-14-104.5(9)
After hearing all testimony and evidence, the court will determine whether the civil protection order should become permanent. The judge could decide to continue the temporary protection order and delay the permanent protection order hearing for up to a year.
A temporary civil protection order will become permanent if a judge finds:
- that the respondent committed the acts that led to the TPO being granted; and
- the respondent will continue the conduct if there is no PPO.
Denver Civil Protection Order Case: Abukar v. Ige
In 2015, Yusuf Ige filed for a civil protection order against acquaintance Mohamed Abukar. A Denver County court granted a temporary protection order at the initial hearing, which Abukar did not attend.
Both men attended the permanent orders hearing the following month.
The PPO Hearing
Ige testified that Abukar had repeatedly threatened to kill him due to a potential history of violence between the two men’s families in their home country of Somalia. Ige told the court that the threats left him unable to sleep and caused a great amount of stress for his family.
Abukar argued that these accusations were part of Ige’s ongoing efforts to blackmail him in relation to a child custody case. However, the judge found that Ige had established a “chronic pattern of threats” that justified making the order permanent:
“There’s been a long history here of you making credible threats to him. You have threatened his life. … I actually believe that unless I make this restraining order permanent, you’re going to continue.”
Abukar v. Ige, 2016 Colo. Dist. LEXIS 437, *7-8
Abukar appealed the judge’s decision, but a Denver district court upheld the ruling.
Civil Protection Orders vs. No-Contact Orders
Both civil protection orders and no-contact orders prohibit each party from coming within a certain specified distance of the other party. This includes their home, place of employment, school, and other locations they frequent.
Both types of orders also forbid any contact via text, phone, social media, or email.
So, What’s the Difference?
Enforcement and Penalties
The major differences between a civil protection order and a no-contact agreement pertain to enforcement and penalties.
Violating a protection order can result in either an arrest or a citation.
With a no-contact agreement, you only call the police if a criminal law has been violated. Otherwise, you will need to file a contempt citation. The restrained party then will be brought to court where a hearing will be set. The violator may face up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay your attorney fees and court costs.
Contact an Attorney Today About a Civil Protection Order
Whether you are seeking a civil protection order or defending yourself against one, you need the R&H Litigation Team on your side. Call 303-688-0944 today to begin your case assessment. Si gustarÍa hablar con nosotros en español, por favor llámenos al 720-359-2442.