Colorado "Violation of a Protective Order" Law
(18-6-803.5 C.R.S.)

man threatening a women (close-up)

Colorado domestic violence and protective orders

Colorado has two types of protective orders for domestic violence:

  • Civil protective orders (initiated by an alleged victim), and 
  • Criminal protective orders (initiated by a criminal arrest).

A criminal protective order is mandatory when:

  • someone is arrested for a crime (other than a vehicle offense), and
  • the cops or the judge suspects the person has used actual or threatened violence to coerce, punish or control an intimate partner.1

Violation of a Colorado protective order

Violating a Colorado protective order is a misdemeanor. Consequences can include:

  • up to 18 months in jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $5,000.

To help you better understand the crime of violation of a Colorado protective order, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following below:

1. What is a Colorado domestic violence protective order?

A domestic violence protective order is a restraining order issued by a Colorado civil or criminal court. It prohibits you from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with an intimate partner, or a witness to a crime you are charged with, if domestic violence is suspected.

A protective order will usually also instruct you to:

  • keep away from such person's home,
  • stay away from locations where the alleged victim or witness is likely to be found,
  • refrain from any contact or communication with such person(s) -- even if such person initiates the contact or otherwise consents to it,
  • give up any firearms or other weapons,
  • refrain from using alcohol or controlled substances, and
  • anything else the judge decides is necessary to protect the alleged victim or witness.

In Colorado, protection orders are mandatory if you are arrested for a crime and the police suspect you of domestic violence. This means the police must arrest you and the judge must issue a restraining order – even if your alleged victim made up the charges, does not want to press charges, or changes his or her mind.

The court may also at any time the order is in effect impose additional restrictions at the request of the victim and/or the prosecutor.

However, you have the right to apply to the court at any time for modification or dismissal of a Colorado restraining order.2 Otherwise, the protective order will remain in place until the final disposition of your case.3

man arrested for violence in front of scared girlfriend

2. What are the penalties for violating a protective order in Colorado?

As soon as the protective order has been issued, you will be entered into Colorado's electronic protective order registry. This means the police will be authorized to do whatever is necessary to keep those protected under the order safe. This includes arresting you if you violate the restraining order in any way.

In Colorado, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly violate a protective order. Consequences of violating a Colorado protective order can include:

  • a fine of up to $5,000, and
  • up to 18 months in jail...

even if you are ultimately found innocent of the original crime with which you were charged.

3. How do I defend against a charge of violating a protective order?

The best way to defend against a protective order is to fight the order as soon as it goes into effect.

Defenses to issuance of the protective order can include (but are not limited to):

  • The witness and or police were mistaken;
  • You didn't commit or threaten any violence;
  • Someone lied about what you did;
  • There is no evidence you committed the underlying crime you were charged with; or
  • You were loud, not violent.

Note, however, that it is not a defense that the alleged victim or witness contacted you or consent to contact. If you are under a "no-contact" order, it means just that -- no contact, whatsoever. You do not violate a no contact order if run into the person accidentally, as long as you leave / hang up as soon as you realize it and do not attempt to speak to the person.

If you do not request a dismissal, or you lose the hearing, you will be subject to the protective order until the final disposition of your case.

If, on the other hand, you violate the Colorado protective order while it is in effect, the best defense will depend on the clause you are charged with violating. Some common defenses include (but are not limited to):

  • You didn't violate the protective order at all;
  • You didn't knowingly violate the protective order;
  • Any contact with the alleged victim or witness was accidental;
  • You dialed the victim's number by mistake (habit), but hung up as soon as you realized it; or
  • The firearm / alcohol / drugs weren't yours.

Call us for help...

call center receptionist

We know how stressful it can be to have criminal charges pending. When you can't live in your own home or have contact with your loved ones, it is even worse.

Our caring Denver domestic violence lawyers want to get you and your family the help you need. We want to help get you home.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, we invite you to call us for a free consultation. Find out why we are considered some of the best domestic violence attorneys in Denver.

We can talk to you by phone, or welcome you at our centrally located Denver office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202
720-955-6112


 Legal references:

  1. 18-1-1001, C.R.S.
  2. 18-1-1001(3), C.R.S.
  3. 18-1-1001(1), C.R.S.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Regain peace of mind...

Our defense attorneys understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most difficult times of your life. Rely on us to zealously and discreetly protect your rights and to fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370