A permanent protective order protects you from another individual's threats, contact, or harassment. Also known as a “restraining order,” if an individual violates a protective order, they can be arrested and taken to jail. In this article, our Colorado domestic violence lawyers will address:
- 1. What is a permanent protective order in Colorado?
- 2. How to I apply for a permanent protective order in Colorado?
- 3. Do I have to pay to apply for a protective order?
- 4. How long does a restraining order last in Colorado?
- 5. What happens if someone violates a protective order?
- 6. How do I lift or remove a permanent restraining order in Colorado?
- 7. Does a restraining order give someone a criminal record in Colorado?
A protective order is a court order that protects an individual from someone's threats or other actions. Also known as a restraining order, a protective order can limit someone from having any contact with you or your family. Violating a civil protection order in Colorado can result in an arrest and jail time.
A protective order prohibits the restrained person from certain actions against the protected person. This is often used to protect individuals from:
- Domestic Violence
- Colorado Stalking (Vonnie's Law)
Protective orders can be temporary or permanent. In an emergency situation, you can go to the police to ask for an emergency protection order when the courts are not open. A temporary protective order can be issued to protect someone for a short period. A permanent protective order may last forever (permanent) unless it is modified or terminated.
A temporary protective order, also known as a temporary restraining order (TRO) can be obtained without the involvement of the alleged abuser. This involves filing a motion in court. If the court grants the motion, the court will issue a TRO to protect the victim until a court hearing is set or a permanent protective order.1
For a permanent protective order, also known as a permanent restraining order (PRO), the other person will have the chance to respond to the motion.2 This requires properly serving the other person with notice of the hearing. However, if the accused does not show up to the PRO hearing, the court will generally grant the order.
A protective order can prohibit any contact between the restrained person and the protected individuals. This includes:
- Sexual assault
- Entering or remaining on premises
- Coming within a specified distance of a protected person or premises
- Taking, harming, or threatening harm to an animal.3
Colorado law has been updated to include digital contact as prohibited contact under a permanent protective order. Contact includes:
“Any interaction or communication with another person, directly or indirectly through a third party, and electronic and digital forms of communication, including but not limited to interaction or communication through social media.”4
This protects people from most types of contact, including social media platforms. Digital contact that may be prohibited includes:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Instant messages
The first step to getting a permanent protective order in Colorado usually begins with a temporary protective order.
Apply for a Temporary Protection Order
The person seeking protection files for a temporary protective order with the local municipal court. A temporary protective order can be issued against any adult or juvenile aged 10 or older for the following:
- To prevent assaults and threatened bodily harm;
- To prevent domestic abuse;
- To prevent emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult;
- To prevent sexual assault or abuse; and
- To prevent stalking.5
You can file for a protective order even if the restricted person has never been charged with a crime or arrested.6
The court will set a hearing for a temporary restraining order as soon as possible. The restrained person does not need to be present for a temporary protection order hearing.7
The judge will review the protective order to determine if there is an imminent danger to the person seeking protection. This includes any danger to the life or health of one or more persons, considering all relevant evidence. If the judge finds that an imminent danger exists to one or more persons, the court shall issue a temporary civil protection order.8
A copy of the temporary civil protection order and the complaint will be served upon the respondent. This will also give notice of a hearing (within 14 days) to determine whether the order should become permanent. If the respondent does not appear for the hearing, they may have a bench warrant issued, and a permanent protection order may be granted against them.9
A copy of the complaint and TPO must be served on the subject. This can be done through the sheriff, using a private process server, or anyone who
- is at least 18 years old,
- not party to the case, and
- understands the rules for proper service.
The process server needs to provide proof of service with the court or provide a copy of the return of service form.
You should remember to carry a copy of the temporary protective order and affidavit/certificate of service at all times. This may be required by law enforcement if the individual violates the temporary restraining order.
Apply for a Permanent Protection Order
In most cases, a hearing for a permanent protective order will be scheduled when the court grants a temporary protective order. In order to determine whether the order should be granted, the court will review the court record and evidence. The judge can also continue a temporary protection order and delay the hearing for up to one year.
If the judge finds that more likely than not, the respondent has committed acts that justify issuing a protective order and unless restrained will continue such acts, the judge shall order the temporary protection order to be made permanent.10
Before the court can grant a permanent protective order, the respondent has to be properly served with a notice of the hearing. The respondent will have a chance to respond to the claims made in the complaint. If the respondent does not appear for the hearing and the court finds that he or she was properly served, the court can issue a permanent protection order.
You may have to pay a fee to file for a permanent protective order. However, if you are filing for a protective order because of domestic violence or stalking, you may not have to pay the fee. You may also ask the court to waive the filing fee.
As of November 27, 2017, the filing fee for a civil protection order is $97.00.11
Criminal Threats Without a Filing Fee
You may not have to pay a filing fee for a protective order if you are seeking protection related to:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Domestic abuse
- Unlawful sexual contact12
Waived Filing Fee
You may also petition the court to waive the filing fee for a protective order. You may file a “Motion to File Without Payment of Filing Fee.”
The filing fee can be waived if the petitioner is without funds and has no adequate funds available to file for a protective order. This generally requires detailing
- your income,
- cash on hand,
- credit available, and
- monthly expenses. You may also have to provide copies of bank statements and pay stubs.
A temporary protective order generally lasts for up to 14 days, until the court holds a hearing on making the protective order permanent. However, a temporary protection order can be continued for up to one year, upon a finding of good cause by the judge.
A permanent restraining order can be permanent, just like the name says. A permanent protective order will remain in effect until is modified or dismissed. A restraining order can be dismissed or modified by the protected person or the restrained person.
The protected person can modify the restraining order at any time. However, the restrained person has to wait for at least two (2) years after the restraining order was issued before they can try to modify or dismiss the protective order.13
If the restrained person does anything prohibited by the protective order, you should call the police. If the police or law enforcement has probable cause to believe the restrained person has violated the order, that person will be arrested and taken to jail.
In Colorado, violating a protective order can be a Class 1 misdemeanor and the penalties can include:
- up to 18 months in jail, and/or
- a fine of up to $5,000.
A person violates a protection order if he or she has been served with a protection order, and the person does any of the following to the protected person:
Possessing or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition is also a violation of the protective order.15
A permanent restraining order can be dismissed or modified by the protected person or the subject of the order. The protected person can modify the restraining order at any time after the order is entered. However, the restrained person has to wait for at least two years before they can file a motion to remove the protective order.16
The restrained person is also responsible for supplying fingerprints to the Colorado bureau of investigation and the FBI to pay for the cost of a criminal history record check. If the court does not have the results of a criminal history check, the court will not consider a motion to modify a protection order.17
If the subject of the protection order has been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony against the protected person, other than the original offense that was the basis for the order, then the protection order will remain permanent.18
If you are the subject of a restraining order, you should contact your attorney if you want to lift or remove a permanent restraining order in Colorado.
Having a civil restraining order is not a criminal offense in Colorado. However, violating a restraining order is a crime. This includes:
- Contacting someone in violation of the restraining order
- Showing up to the protected person's workplace
- Trying to buy ammunition in violation of the order
Violating a permanent protective order is a misdemeanor crime in Colorado. A conviction for violating a protective order will result in a criminal record and possible jail time.
Being the subject of a permanent protective order may show up in a background check. A background check by your employer may show that someone is under a civil protective order. Employers or others may assume that someone with a protective order is guilty of domestic abuse or other crime even if the restrained person is never convicted of any crime.
Call us for help...
If you have been threatened or harassed and are looking for a protective order to protect you and your family, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing people involved in harassment or domestic violence cases. We are among the best Colorado attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5 (“(1)(a) Any municipal court of record, if authorized by the municipal governing body; any county court; and any district, probate, or juvenile court shall have original concurrent jurisdiction to issue a temporary or permanent civil protection order against an adult or against a juvenile who is ten years of age or older for any of the following purposes: (I) To prevent assaults and threatened bodily harm; (II) To prevent domestic abuse; (III) To prevent emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult; (IV) To prevent sexual assault or abuse; and (V) To prevent stalking.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-105 (1) (“A municipal court of record that is authorized by its municipal governing body to issue protection or restraining orders and any county court.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-101(2.4) (“(a)“Protection order” means any order that prohibits the restrained person from contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, stalking, or sexually assaulting or abusing any protected person or from entering or remaining on premises, or from coming within a specified distance of a protected person or premises, or from taking, transferring, concealing, harming, disposing of or threatening harm to an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by a protected person, or any other provision to protect the protected person from imminent danger to life or health that is issued by a court of this state or a municipal court.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-101(1.7) (“Contact” or “contacting” means any interaction or communication with another person, directly or indirectly through a third party, and electronic and digital forms of communication, including but not limited to interaction or communication through social media.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5, see footnote 1 above.
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5(1)(b) (“To be eligible for a protection order, the petitioner does not need to show that he or she has reported the act that is the subject of the complaint to law enforcement, that charges have been filed, or that the petitioner is participating in the prosecution of a criminal matter.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5(4) (”A motion for a temporary civil protection order shall be set for hearing at the earliest possible time, which hearing may be ex parte.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5(7)(a) (”A temporary civil protection order may be issued if the issuing judge or magistrate finds that an imminent danger exists to the person or persons seeking protection under the civil protection order. In determining whether an imminent danger exists to the life or health of one or more persons, the court shall consider all relevant evidence concerning the safety and protection of the persons seeking the protection order. The court shall not deny a petitioner the relief requested because of the length of time between an act of abuse or threat of harm and the filing of the petition for a protection order.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-104.5(9) (“A copy of the complaint, a copy of the temporary civil protection order, and a copy of the citation must be served upon the respondent and upon the person to be protected, if the complaint was filed by another person, in accordance with the rules for service of process as provided in rule 304 of the rules of county court civil procedure or rule 4 of the Colorado rules of civil procedure . The citation must inform the respondent that, if the respondent fails to appear in court in accordance with the terms of the citation, a bench warrant may be issued for the arrest of the respondent, and the temporary protection order previously entered by the court made permanent without further notice or service upon the respondent.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-106 (“(1)(a) On the return date of the citation, or on the day to which the hearing has been continued, the judge or magistrate shall examine the record and the evidence. If upon such examination the judge or magistrate finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order and that unless restrained will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person, the judge or magistrate shall order the temporary civil protection order to be made permanent or enter a permanent civil protection order with provisions different from the temporary civil protection order.”)
- C.R.S. 13-32-101(1)(c)(III)(A)
- C.R.S. 13-14-109 (“(1) The court may assess a filing fee against a petitioner seeking relief under this article; except that the court may not assess a filing fee against a petitioner if the court determines the petitioner is seeking the protection order as a victim of domestic abuse, domestic violence as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S., stalking, or sexual assault or abuse.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-108 (“(2)(b) The restrained party may apply to the court for modification, including but not limited to a modification of the duration of the protection order or dismissal of a permanent protection order pursuant to this section. However, if a permanent protection order has been issued or if a motion for modification or dismissal of a permanent protection order has been filed by the restrained party, whether or not it was granted, no motion to modify or dismiss may be filed by the restrained party within two years after issuance of the permanent order or after disposition of the prior motion.”)
- C.R.S. 18-6-803.5 (“(1) A person commits the crime of violation of a protection order if, after the person has been personally served with a protection order that identifies the person as a restrained person or otherwise has acquired from the court or law enforcement personnel actual knowledge of the contents of a protection order that identifies the person as a restrained person, the person: (a) Contacts, harasses, injures, intimidates, molests, threatens, or touches the protected person or protected property, including an animal, identified in the protection order or enters or remains on premises or comes within a specified distance of the protected person, protected property, including an animal, or premises or violates any other provision of the protection order to protect the protected person from imminent danger to life or health, and such conduct is prohibited by the protection order.”)
- C.R.S. 18-6-803.5(1) (“(c) Violates a civil protection order issued pursuant to section 13-14-105.5, C.R.S ., or pursuant to section 18-1-1001(9) by: (I) Possessing or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the protection order is in effect; or (II) Failing to timely file a receipt or written statement with the court as described in section 13-14-105.5(9), C.R.S ., or in section 18-1-1001(9)(i) or 18-6-801(8)(i) .”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-108, see footnote 13 above.
- C.R.S. 13-14-108 (“(3)(a)(I) Notwithstanding any provision of subsection (2) of this section to the contrary, after issuance of the permanent protection order, if the restrained party has been convicted of or pled guilty to any misdemeanor or any felony against the protected person, other than the original offense, if any, that formed the basis for the issuance of the protection order, then the protection order remains permanent and must not be modified or dismissed by the court.”)
- C.R.S. 13-14-108 (“(3)(b) A court shall not consider a motion to modify a protection order filed by a restrained party pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) unless the court receives the results of a fingerprint-based criminal history record check of the restrained party that is conducted within ninety days prior to the filing of the motion. The fingerprint-based criminal history record check must include a review of the state and federal criminal history records maintained by the Colorado bureau of investigation and federal bureau of investigation. The restrained party shall be responsible for supplying fingerprints to the Colorado bureau of investigation and to the federal bureau of investigation and paying the costs of the record checks. The restrained party may be required by the court to provide certified copies of any criminal dispositions that are not reflected in the state or federal records and any other dispositions that are unknown.”