I’d like to take this post to discuss the different situations where someone might be able to take out a restraining order against you. A restraining order—typically referred to as a “protection order” in Colorado—is a civil order that is designed to keep you from harming or threatening to harm another person. Under the terms of a protection order, you may be barred from going near or contacting the alleged victim in any way.
Protection orders are commonly issued in instances of domestic violence between two people in an intimate relationship, whether they are a current or formal couple, blood relatives, or current or former roommates. However, while protective orders are most commonly issued between two individuals who have shared a relationship, there are some situations when someone you have never been involved in a relationship with may take out an order against you.
In Colorado, any person may take out a protection order against you for the following reasons:
Stalking. A person with whom you have never shared an intimate relationship with may take out a protection order against you by demonstrating you have committed the crime of stalking against them. You can commit stalking by repeatedly following, contacting, or surveilling the alleged victim or someone with whom they share a close relationship with, such as a family member or friend.
Assault. Someone could seek a protection order against you if you have assaulted them physically. Under Colorado law, assault occurs if you knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to someone. You could also be found guilty of assault for drugging someone without their consent.
Sexual assault. A person may also take out a protective order against you by asserting that you have sexually assaulted them. Sexual assault occurs if you knowingly sexually penetrate or intrude a victim without their consent, or if they are unable to consent because they are asleep, unconscious, or unable to understand the sexual conduct.
Unlawful sexual contact. However, you don’t have to have committed full-blown assault against a person to have a protection order taken out against you. Any type of unlawful sexual contact, such as touching intimate parts without consent, could be considered grounds for a protection order. Knowingly inducing a person under 18 years of age to engage in sexual activity could also be considered unlawful sexual contact.
Threats of physical harm. Additionally, a person could take out a restraining against you if you have simply threatened them with physical harm—no physical contact or shared relationship is needed.
Verbal abuse or wrongful confinement. If the alleged victim is at least 60 years of age, or mentally or physically incapacitated, they could lawfully take out a restraining order against you for reasons of verbal abuse or wrongful confinement.
Employee danger. Under Colorado law, an employer may take out a protection order for their business against you if they believe you pose an immediate threat to customers or employees. For instance, if an employer can demonstrate you have been stalking or harming an employee, they may be able to obtain a protection order that prohibits you from coming near the business.
What to Do if Someone Is Seeking a Protection Order Against You
A protection order can have a devastating and lasting impact on your lifestyle, career, and future. With a restraining order against you, you may be barred from visiting certain areas and businesses, and your name will be permanently placed in a police registry. You may lose your right to own a firearm, meaning you will be disqualified from serving in the military or police force. A protection order may appear on your criminal record, hindering your ability to find work, apply to schools, and obtain housing. It could also impact your credit score, making it difficult for you to secure a loan or buy a house.
If you are involved in a protection order case, it’s essential to obtain legal counsel if you want to avoid severe penalties and a life-long criminal record. Contact a criminal defense lawyer with experience in Colorado protection order laws. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story and explain your rights and options in an impartial and upfront manner. Together, you can work on building a defense that demonstrates the allegations of violence or misconduct against you are false or that the protective order is unjust.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.