Colorado allows certain individuals to request an order of protection in limited circumstances. Victims of the following crimes can get an order of protection:
- Domestic abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Unlawful sexual contact,
- Abuse of the elderly or an at-risk adult, or
- Physical assault, threat, or other situation.
Additionally, Colorado criminal courts automatically impose restraining orders in certain cases. The violation of a protection order is a criminal act and can result in significant penalties. If you have questions about getting an order of protection in Colorado, contact Plog & Stein, P.C., to consult with one of our experienced family lawyers. Our team is well-versed in family law cases involving orders of protection and has what it takes to meet the needs of our clients.
Civil Protection Orders vs. Mandatory Protection Orders
Colorado uses both civil protection orders (CPOs) and mandatory protection orders (MPOs) to prevent contact between two parties. A mandatory protection order is issued automatically, while a victim must request a civil protection order. The person who requests a civil protection order is called the petitioner or the protected party. The person named in the civil protection order is called the respondent or the restrained party.
Mandatory Protection Orders
In a criminal case, the court will generally automatically impose an MPO when someone is arrested for a domestic violence or similar, related charges. Like a civil protection order, the MPO prohibits contact by the accused party. MPO’s are handled in criminal cases and not something family law attorneys deal with. MPO’s will usually run through the duration of the criminal case, including through any sentence or probation period. While we do not handle MPO’s or criminal cases, we can assist with getting a civil protection order so that protections continue when the criminal case concludes.
Civil Protection Orders
Unlike an MPO, the protected party must request a CPO. Individuals can request a temporary protection order (TPO) if they feel in immediate danger. A TPO lasts for two weeks. The TPO prevents the restrained party from trying to:
- Sexually assault,
- Or abuse the protected party or parties.
The TPO can prohibit the restrained party from coming within a specified distance of the protected party or contacting them in any way.
After two weeks, the judge holds a hearing to determine whether to extend the order to a permanent protection order (PPO). The TPO will automatically expire if the protected person does not attend the PPO hearing. A PPO continues forever, though the retrained person can seek modification or termination, under certain circumstances, after 2 years.
How Do I Apply for an Order of Protection?
You apply for an order of protection by filing the required paperwork at the county court where you live. Protection Orders can also be sought as part of a divorce or child custody case, at the district court level. If a divorce or custody case is filed after a county court TPO is issued, many jurisdictions will consolidate the cases.
First, you need to complete the form to apply for a TPO. On the TPO form, you must provide basic information about the protected parties. Then, you must verify that you were a victim of a list of particular acts or forms of misconduct.
The TPO form asks the protected party to provide specific details about the incident that made them request the restraining order. This includes providing information about where the incident occurred, whether children were present when the incident occurred, whether a weapon was involved, and what threats or acts of violence were made. The courts anticipate that many protected parties may have multiple incidents that motivated them to request a protection order. Therefore, the form requests details about the most recent incident and most serious incident. It also provides space so you can include information about other incidents if necessary. If you want the court to consider other incidents, those should be included in the complaint.
The petitioner can request that specific prohibitions be included in the protection order, like an order for the restrained party to vacate any shared spaces or stay away from the protected party’s place of work.
Additionally, the petitioner must choose whether to request temporary custody of shared children with the respondent and provide an explanation for their decision.
A Colorado family law attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a protection order and give you a better understanding and what will be needed to prove the case at trial. Many people seek TPO’s on their own, then seek out an attorney for the hearing to take place within two weeks. Sometimes this is done as a cost-saving measure.
Contact an Attorney Today to Find Out About Getting an Order of Protection
Our team at Plog & Stein frequently helps clients with matters involving civil protection orders. We take these matters seriously, whether we are helping a client secure a protection order for themselves or fighting against a protection order filed against them. If you need an order of protection to help ensure your own safety or as part of your pending divorce or child custody matter, contact an experienced Denver family law attorney to discuss your case.