What is a Civil Protection Order?
Commonly referred to as a “restraining order,” a civil protection order is an order issued by the court that prohibits the restrained person from contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, or stalking the protected person. In Colorado, there are two types of civil protection orders: (1) Temporary Protection Orders; and (2) Permanent Protection Orders. A violation of any civil protection order is a criminal misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum $5,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail.
What is a Temporary Protection Order?
A Temporary Protection Order is a protection order that lasts for up to 14 days- or up to one year if the parties agree to continue it. A person seeking a Temporary Protection Order, called the Petitioner or Plaintiff, will first file a motion with the Court stating that the subject of the protection order places him or her in“imminent danger.” The Court will then hold a hearing -- generally on that same day -- in which the Petitioner further explains the “imminent danger” posed by the subject of the order. Unlike with permanent protection orders, the Respondent does not have to be present for the Court to issue a temporary protection order. Upon finding that the Petitioner has proven “imminent danger,” the Court will then set a date for a permanent protection order hearing, at which the Court will determine whether it is necessary to make the temporary protection order permanent. If the Court does not issue a permanent protection order, the temporary protection will automatically expire on the date of the permanent protection order hearing.
What is a Permanent Civil Protection Order?
As the name suggests, a permanent protection order is nearly identical to the temporary protection order except that it has no expiration date and may only be obtained at the permanent protection order hearing after the Respondent/Defendant has been served with the Temporary Protection Order. At the hearing, you will need to prove the following two elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
1) “That the respondent has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order” and;
2) “That unless restrained [the respondent] will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person.”
However, unlike the temporary protection order hearing, the restrained person will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony as to why the protection order should not be made permanent. After hearing from both parties, the Court will then decide whether to issue a permanent protection order or terminate the temporary protection order. Permanent Civil Protection Orders in Colorado are permanent forever unless they are later modified or dismissed.
How are Civil Protection Orders Different from Criminal Protection Orders?
Generally, both civil and criminal protection orders contain similar language and result in the same consequences if violated. However, the two different protection orders differ significantly in how they are obtained and issued. Unlike the civil protection order, which requires a request from the Petitioner, the criminal protection order is issued at the Defendant’s first court appearance -- even if the alleged victim does not request it. Accordingly, the criminal protection order is also referred to as a “Mandatory Protection Order.”
While a civil protection order can be made permanent, a criminal protection order only lasts until the case is dismissed or the Defendant completes his or her sentence or probation. Because a criminal protection order will eventually expire, if you believe the danger will continue, it usually is a good idea to obtain a permanent civil protection order regardless of whether you have a Mandatory Protection Order. At Boeckx Law, we specialize in both obtaining and defending against civil protection orders. Give us a call if you need assistance.