Colorado courts provide a streamlined process for people to obtain protection orders, also known as restraining orders, in a variety of situations. The streamlined and quick nature of the process can be helpful in emergency situations, but can also lead to unfair results.
At Dolan + Zimmerman LLP, in Boulder, our attorneys understand the complex and sensitive nature of restraining orders. Whether you need assistance obtaining a protection order or have been falsely accused of committing dangerous or threatening behavior, we have the experience to help you seek the outcome you need.
WHY WORK WITH OUR FIRM?
- Your safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.
- Our team has extensive experience in the intricacies of family law cases involving restraining orders.
- We make it a priority to be responsive and accessible to our clients.
- We work with our clients to identify specific goals and individualize our approach to each case.
HELPING YOU SEEK PROTECTION
A court issues a restraining order to protect a person from injury or contact by another individual. In order to successfully obtain a restraining order that will protect you from someone who is making you feel unsafe, you need to present specific information in an effective way.
We have helped many of our clients obtain official court protection orders so that they can feel secure and safe from threatening behavior. This can be a real relief and can effectively put a stop to problematic and scary behavior.
Obtaining a Restraining Order
Restraining orders may be temporary or permanent and can be issued with or without a crime having been committed.
Temporary Restraining Order
The person who wishes to obtain a restraining order is called the petitioner and does so by filing a complaint. A judge will typically hear the complaint and issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the defendant if they find an imminent danger exists. A temporary restraining order will last up to 14 days and may prohibit the defendant from being within a certain distance of the protected party. This first hearing to issue a TRO can occur “ex parts,” which means without the defendant present.
If it is outside of regular business hours and the courts are not open, local law enforcement agencies have procedures in place for a petitioner to obtain an emergency protection order.
A permanent hearing will determine if the restraining order will be extended or indefinite. Additional evidence can be submitted at this time, and the judge will hear testimony from both parties, as well as consider child safety if applicable. To obtain a permanent restraining order, the petitioner must testify that they have been hurt or threatened by the defendant and feel they are in imminent danger of further harm. The defendant’s presence is requested at the permanent hearing, and they have the right to contest the restraining order. If they do not appear in person, the Court will often approve the permanent protection order.
Victims of abuse, assault, or domestic violence are granted immediate protection. A judge will determine the terms and duration of no-contact orders in those situations based on the circumstances of the crime and the accused’s criminal background.
PROTECTING YOU FROM FALSE CLAIMS
Sometimes, people seek a protection order falsely or unfairly. People do this because they are angry after a breakup; because they are angry about something else; or for no good reason at all. You may assume or hope that defending yourself is as simple as showing up and explaining your side to the judge, but that’s not the case.
Partly because there are a lot of truly dangerous situations that legitimately do call for a protection order to be in place, many judges are predisposed to issue protection orders without taking the time to understand the situation clearly. An inappropriate or unnecessary protection order can create a problematic entry in background checks and can place you at risk of facing criminal charges if the protected party claims, truly or falsely, that you have violated the protection order.
Civil vs. Criminal Restraining Orders
An alleged victim initiates a civil protection order by filing a complaint in civil court asking for protection. In contrast, criminal protection orders also called “mandatory protection orders,” are initiated by a court after a criminal arrest. Criminal protection orders are commonly issued in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, or another similar crime. They are broader than civil protection orders and prohibit defendants from contact with both victims and witnesses to a crime.
Violating a Restraining Order
If the restrained party violates a TRO or permanent protection order, it is considered a misdemeanor in Colorado. Depending on the nature of the protection order, penalties for violations can range from three to 25 months in jail and/or fines of $250 to $5,000. Defendants do not violate a restraining order that prohibits contact if they accidentally run into the petitioner. However, they must leave or hang up the phone as soon as they realize it is the protected person.
CRAFTING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO ACHIEVE THE RESULTS YOU NEED
There are more options available in protection order cases than what initially meets the eye. We have settled protection order matters without going to court. We have settled these matters in court without proceeding to a hearing. We have also successfully proceeded to hearings and prevailed on behalf of our clients in court. Every case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SITUATION IN A FREE 10 MINUTE CONSULTATION
Whichever of these situations you find yourself in, we are highly experienced in handling protection order matters. We can help you work toward the outcome that you need. To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us today or send us an email.