Civil Restraining and Protection Orders
C.R.S. 13-14-102

Violating a protective order in CO – Can the judge lock me up?

Top Colorado criminal defense attorney discusses the penalties for violating a protective order. Learn more about Colorado Legal Defense Group at or call (303) 222-0330 for a free consultation. CAN THE JUDGE LOCK ME UP FOR VIOLATING A PROTECTIVE ORDER IN COLORADO? A surefire way of getting thrown in a Colorado jail is to violate a protective order for domestic violence. Even if you were falsely accused of domestic violence, once a protective order has been issued against you, the police can arrest you if you harass, contact, or go near the alleged victim. Violating a protective order is a misdemeanor in Colorado. Under C.R.S. 18-6-803.5, the judge can sentence you to serve up to 18 months in jail or pay up to $5,000 in fines, or both. The judge can impose these penalties even if the underlying domestic violence-related charges against you get dismissed. The best way to defend against a protective order is to fight the order as soon as it goes into effect by petitioning the court to dismiss it. But if you do ultimately get arrested for violating a protective order, common defenses to fight the charge are: 1) Any contact you had with the alleged victim was purely accidental, and you stopped it as soon as you realized there was contact; 2) You didn’t knowingly violate the protective order; or 3) You were falsely accused by the alleged victim of contacting him or her. Remember that is never a defense that the alleged victim or witness contacted you or consented to contact with you. COLORADO LEGAL DEFENSE GROUP If you or a loved one is charged with a crime we invite you to contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We serve Denver, Lakewood, Littleton, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Boulder, Broomfield, Grand Junction, Eagle, Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail and throughout Colorado. Colorado Legal Defense Group 4047 Tejon Street Denver CO 80211 (303) 222-0330

A civil protection order in Colorado is a court order that is intended to protect the person seeking the order from threat or abuse, including domestic violence. A protective order prohibits the alleged abuser from contacting, harassing, stalking, threatening, or intimidating the alleged victim. It can also limit where and when the subject of the order can be in certain places, prohibit contact with family members, and even limit contact with pets.

In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

1. What is a civil protection order in Colorado?

Protection orders in Colorado are issued under C.R.S. 13-14-102 and 13-14-103. There are three types of protection orders:

With a temporary protection order (TRO), the individual seeking the order can obtain the order on their own, without the other person present. They may simply obtain the order through filling out a motion to be reviewed by a judge. If the judge finds justification to grant the order, they will grant a temporary protection order which must be served upon the other party.1

After a TRO is granted, the court may set a date for a permanent protection order (PRO). This generally involves a court hearing. For this type of hearing, the subject of the protection order has the opportunity to respond to the allegations. If the alleged victim does not show up to the hearing, the permanent protection order is not granted. If the defendant does not appear for the hearing and notice was properly served, then the order will generally be granted.

An emergency protection order is an emergency procedure where someone wants to obtain a protection order during the hours the courts are closed. An emergency protection order can be obtained through law enforcement when the courts are not open.2

2. What is prohibited by a civil protection order?

The specific restrictions under a civil protection order will depend on the situation. The order may require the individual to move out of the alleged victim's house, limit communication to phone or email contact, or prohibit all contact. If a protective order restricts any contact, that may include phone, text, email, and even social media contact.

The protective order may also prohibit coming within a certain distance of the other person, prohibit going to their home, school, workplace, children's' school, public places they frequent, or other locations. The order may restrict contact with family members, children, or pets. A protective order may also require you to hand over any firearms you have to law enforcement.

3. How was a protection order issued against me?

If you have a civil protection order against you, it was likely obtained after another person filed for protection against you. A protection order is issued for the alleged victims of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, or under fear of personal injury or harm. This is done through filing a “motion for civil protection order.” The motion is filed in the county where the alleged abuse occurred, where the alleged victim lives or works, or where the alleged abuser lives or works.

A motion for a civil protection order includes contact information for the parties involved, names of children who are also to be protected by the order, a description of why they are seeking protection, and how they want to limit contact. The motion is then filed with the county court.

The judge may then decide to grant a temporary protective order, with a copy to be served to the subject of the order. With a temporary protective order, the court does not require you to be present to defend yourself. However, if the individual is seeking a permanent protection order, then you have the right to be present and you should consider contacting an attorney to protect your rights.

4. How is a civil restraining order different than a criminal restraining order?

The criminal and civil restraining orders go through different procedures in Colorado. A criminal restraining order is issued after certain domestic violence offenses. A criminal protection order is mandatory when someone is arrested and law enforcement or a judge believes the suspect has used or threatened to use violence against an intimate partner.

Alternatively, an alleged victim of threat or violence can obtain a civil protection order on their own accord. This is a more simplified process and does not require the police or judge have probable cause to arrest an individual for any crime.

5. What happens if I violate a protection order?

Violating a protection order is a criminal offense. It does not matter if it involves a civil or criminal protection order. Violating a protective order in Colorado under C.R.S. 18-6-803.5 is a misdemeanor offense. Penalties include up to 18 months in jail, and up to $5,000 in fines.

After a protective order is issued in Colorado, it is entered into a statewide database. If you come into contact with police or are reported in an area prohibited by the protection order, you may be arrested. Even if the alleged victim did not report a violation and has changed their mind, if the police have probable cause to believe you violated a protection order, they will place you under arrest and take you to jail.

6. How do I remove a restraining order?

If you are the subject of a temporary restraining order (the restrained person), you should contact an attorney and appear for the protection order hearing. It is much more straightforward to prevent a temporary restraining order from becoming permanent than it is to get rid of a PRO. Contact your attorney if you are the subject of a TRO or PRO if you want to remove the restraining order.

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If you have any questions about a Colorado restraining order or would like to talk to a lawyer about your case, contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers have years of experience protecting clients involved in domestic disputes. Facing a restraining order and possible arrest in Colorado can be a frightening experience. But you don't have to go it alone. Contact us for a free consultation. We can assist with bail and release at any of the Colorado jails, including the Pueblo County Jail.

See our related articles on menacing, domestic violence assault, child abuse, false imprisonment, and elder abuse.

Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 13-14-102
  2. C.R.S. 13-14-103

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