Protection orders, also known as restraining orders, are used by Colorado courts to regulate and prohibit interactions between specific individuals. Protection orders can be imposed by a criminal court pursuant to the filing of criminal charges, or they can be imposed by a civil court pursuant to the successful petition of a person seeking protection.
Regardless of which type of court imposes a protection order, the violation of such an order is always a criminal offense.
At Decker and Jones, we represent both people seeking to petition a civil court for a protection order against another party, as well as people charged criminally with violating a protection order. In either capacity, Decker and Jones provide aggressive representation of our clients’ interests in protection order matters.
A person can be charged with violation of a custody or a parenting order if they take or entice any child from the custody or care of the child’s parents, guardian, or other lawful custodian. Charges can also be filed if the person violates a court order granting custody of the child to another person, with the intent to deprive the lawful custodian of custody.
An affirmative defense can be made if the person reasonably believed his conduct was necessary to preserve the child from danger, or that the child, as long as they are more than 14 years old, was taken away at his own instigation without enticement and without the desire to commit a criminal offense.
Violation of a custody or a parenting order can be a class 4 or class 5 felony.
Violating a protection or restraining order in Colorado can have serious consequences including mandatory arrest. In some counties, it does not matter if the protection order is a civil or a criminal case. The only issue that matters is whether or not the accused person knew that the order was in place. Claiming that there was no knowledge a protection order was in place is one possible defense for a person charged with this type of violation.
If a person has no prior criminal history of violating protection or restraining orders, then a conviction will carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you want to obtain a permanent civil protection order against another person, possibly an ex-spouse, an angry neighbor, or an ex-employee, as the petitioner, you must establish a burden of proof as part of making your case to the courts.
Obtaining a permanent civil protection order means that a person may not threaten, retaliate, harass, molest, harm or annoy a protected person or their minor children. They will also not be allowed to contact the protected person by direct or indirect contact including through the mail, texts, by phone, telegrams or through third parties. The only exception is that an attorney may contact a protected person as long as there is a reasonable and valid excuse. A permanent order also bars a person from going to places where a protected party is likely to be found, such as at home, school, work, or shopping locations.
To obtain a permanent civil protection order, a person must first file a temporary restraining order which will be reviewed by a judge. The judge will decide if there is imminent danger in deciding to grant the order. If granted, the court will schedule a hearing to determine if the order should be made permanent or dismissed.
There are cases where you can find yourself as the subject of a permanent civil protection order filed by another person. It may be a spouse, employer or other person in your life who has made the case that they feel threatened by you.
Accusations such as this can have a big impact on your life and the lives of your family, friends and associates.
Hearings are generally scheduled quickly, so you will need to move fast to prepare for your hearing with the help of your attorney. In some cases, you may be able to secure a continuance, but that is not always the case.