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What Are the Conditions of a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP February 28, 2022

A domestic violence protection order – also known as a restraining order – is a legal document that requires a perpetrator to cease all communication and contact with an alleged victim of domestic abuse. If your spouse takes out a protection order against you for domestic violence, it is important to thoroughly understand all of the conditions named in the order. Otherwise, you risk violating its measures and getting into significant legal trouble.

What Is an Order of Protection for Domestic Violence?

An order of protection is a court order that requires someone to do or not do certain things, based on the type of order. A stay-away order for domestic violence or abuse, for example, generally requires the named party to have no contact with the petitioner. A refrain-from or limited order, on the other hand, allows some contact but prohibits offenses, such as stalking or harassing the petitioner.

In Colorado, an individual can get an order of protection for domestic violence by petitioning the courts for one. The petitioner may need to provide evidence of why he or she feels unsafe and is in need of legal protection. This evidence might include a police report for domestic violence or abuse, eyewitness statements, and medical records or photographs proving injuries. If the courts grant the request for a temporary, emergency or permanent order of protection, it will typically go into effect immediately.

What Are the Typical Conditions of a Protection Order?

If your spouse or someone else obtains a domestic violence protection order against you, it is critical to understand its precise terms and conditions. A domestic violence protection order in Colorado has the power to grant certain protections to the petitioner and his or her minor children. The purpose of these conditions is to protect the petitioner from the offender. For this reason, they often include or are similar to the following:

  • The offender cannot contact the protected party directly or indirectly.
  • The offender must immediately move out of a home or residence shared with the victim.
  • The offender cannot contact the protected party’s family members, including shared children.
  • The defendant cannot harass, molest, intimidate or retaliate against the protected party.
  • The offender cannot have custody of children shared with the victim.
  • If the offender has visitation rights, visitation must follow the order’s provisions.
  • Any other conditions that are required to protect the petitioner and his or her children.

The exact conditions of a domestic violence protection order will depend in part on the type of order. There are many different types of protection orders available in Colorado, including cease-abuse orders, support orders, restitution orders, relinquish-firearm orders, anger management treatment orders, and child custody and support orders. The type of domestic violence order issued against you can determine the conditions of the document. Be sure to understand the type of order involved in your domestic violence case to establish what you can and cannot do while the order is active.

What Happens if You Break a Domestic Violence Protection Order in Colorado?

In the family courts, an order of protection for domestic violence can last a maximum of two years except under aggravating circumstances – in which case it can last up to five years. In the criminal court, it can last up to eight years, depending on the crime committed. While a protection order for domestic violence is active, it can be enforced by the courts and/or the police.

It is a crime to break a domestic violence protection order. If the offender violates the conditions of an order, he or she could be arrested and charged with criminal contempt. This can result in jail time, additional sanctions against the offender, fines, mandatory courses, restitution and other penalties. If you are facing an order of protection for domestic violence in Colorado or are being accused of breaking one, contact a Boulder criminal defense lawyer right away for assistance.