Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in our state, and can affect all aspects of your life, including your job, time with your children, and even where you are allowed to live. If you also have to adhere to a restraining order while your case is pending, you might find that your everyday life is now riddled with inconvenient limitations.
If you have a restraining order against you, it’s important to make sure you understand what the order involves so you’re not caught doing something in violation of that order. So let’s explore what having a restraining order means, the penalties associated with restraining order charges, and how, when the time is right, you can get the order lifted.
What Exactly Is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order – otherwise known as a protective order – is typically issued as part of a domestic violence offender’s release from jail, often as a condition of their bond. The order keeps the defendant “from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts” and remains in effect until the case is resolved.
Along with not harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating, or tampering with the so-called victim, a judge has discretion to issue a number of conditions to the protective order including:
- Restraining someone from contacting the victim or minor children of either party;
- Keeping the defendant from the family home;
- Awarding temporary child care and custody to the other parent or another party;
- Allowing supervised visitation;
- Restraining someone from going to the victim’s place of employment;
- Keeping the defendant from any family pet; or
- Any condition the court deems is appropriate.
Violating a Restraining Order
It is necessary to make sure you fully understand what you are and are not allowed to do under a restraining order. If you make a mistake and violate a condition of the order, the victim could call the police and have you arrested.
Violating a protective order is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If you’ve violated a protective order before, the offense will be elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
So in addition to the pending domestic violence charge, you can also receive a separate Violation of a Protective Order charge, which can reflect poorly on your case.
Lifting a Restraining Order
Depending on your county of residence, there are different procedures to have a restraining order lifted. If you’re looking to have a restraining order lifted, you should get in touch with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the Colorado legal system.
A knowledgeable attorney will file a motion to dismiss the restraining order or modify the restraining order, depending on your needs. Then, a trial will be held to determine if the motion will be granted.
The court will look at whether you have violated the restraining order, if you have violated any other laws, if you’ve started domestic violence or anger management courses, what the status of your case is, and whether the victim feels safe.
Depending on these factors, a judge can completely lift the restraining order or place limits on the type of contact that is allowed. For example, a judge might allow contact, but the topics of conversation might be limited to discussions about your children.
If you have a restraining order against you and feel that you might be able to get it lifted, reach out to a Colorado attorney today to fight for your rights.
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.