Sometimes referred to as a restraining order or protective order, a protection order is designed to protect a victim from a defendant’s threats or actions.
Usually, courts issue protection orders to prevent the protected person from domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, threats, or intimidation.
When you have a protective order against you, though, it can prohibit you from performing certain actions involving the protected person. In Colorado, a protective order can come with a variety of conditions, including:
- Forbidding you from contacting the protected person or their children
- Forbidding you from going near the protected person’s home
- Forbidding you from going to the protected person’s place of employment
- Giving the protected person temporary care and control of your children
- Order you to continue making payments on the protected person’s mortgage, rent, utilities, or child care if you have an existing duty or legal obligation
- Forbidding you from seeing a pet that is in the care of the protected person
Colorado law has recently been amended to include virtual contact as forbidden contact under a protective order.
According to the law, 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.”
Consequences of Violating a Protection Order in Colorado
If you have a protection order against you, it is critical to understand its terms. Violating the terms of your protection order — whether intentionally or otherwise — can come with some serious consequences.
If the protected person reports you for violating the terms of the protection order, you may be arrested and be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. A Class 2 misdemeanor can be penalized by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Consequences can get more serious if you’ve violated a protective order before. A second violation of your probation order can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. A Class 1 misdemeanor can be penalized by up to 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
How to Get a Colorado Protection Order Lifted
The process of having your protection order lifted may vary depending on the county you live in. In all cases, it is best to begin the process of having your restraining order dismissed by hiring a criminal defense lawyer with experience in Colorado protection order laws.
From there, your lawyer can file a motion to lift or alter the protection order — depending on your goals. A court will review the motion to determine whether it will be granted.
To decide, the judge will consider a number of factors, such as:
- Whether you have violated the terms of your restraining order
- Whether you have broken any laws
- Whether you have any other protection orders issued against you
- Whether you’ve enrolled in anger management, domestic violence, or sex offender programs
- Whether the protected person feels safe
- How much time has passed since the order was issued
- Circumstances, such as where you and the protected person lives and works
After considering all the facts of your case, a judge may decide to alter the terms of your restraining order or lift the order completely. Before agreeing to change or dismiss a restraining order, a judge typically must find alteration or termination of your order is appropriate by a preponderance of the evidence, or more than 50/50.
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 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.