September 28, 2023
Restraining orders can have a serious impact on your day-to-day life. You might have to change your commute, move out of your home, or stay away from the people you love most.
You’ve done the time for your mistakes (or perhaps shouldn’t have been given the order in the first place), so how do you get back to your normal life?
In today’s post, we share the five steps you need to take to successfully have your Colorado restraining order lifted. If you still have specific questions regarding your particular case after reading this article, reach out to a Colorado defense attorney with experience in restraining orders for answers.
First, Don’t Violate Your Order
The process of lifting a restraining order (also called a “protection” or “no-contact” order) may take some time and negotiation. Whether you are at the beginning or the end of this process, the most important thing you can do is to follow the order terms.
These orders are granted to keep alleged abusers (also known as the “restrained party”) away from victims and their families, generally outlining certain distances from the victim and prohibition of contact, but a variety of other terms may apply as well.
Violations won’t just prevent you from getting the order lifted – you could also face criminal charges.
One way to keep yourself in line and out of trouble is to spend your free time gathering the evidence you will need in order to make your case for having the order lifted.
There’s a good chance you know why the restraining order was filed against you in the first place. If you don’t, review the order and find someone who can offer sound legal advice. Understanding why will help you know what kind of evidence you need to have the order lifted.
Often when an order is associated with a proven crime, there are requirements for participation to attend therapy and various rehabilitation programs associated with the conviction. Think anger management courses, drug or alcohol rehabilitation – whatever is relevant to your case.
Take notes, save progress reports, and file away any completion certificates or letters. You’ll need to present them down the line.
Believe it or not, the courts are rooting for you. When you make improvements in your life, it helps to share them when going before the judge. Be excited – it likely took a lot of work to achieve the things you have in your time away from the party who filed the order against you.
Proof of established employment, completed education programs – it all makes great supporting documentation.
Proof of Contact
While you cannot contact the alleged victim, it doesn’t always stop the alleged victim from trying to contact you – especially if you’ve historically been the breadwinner in the home.
If the victim tries to contact you while you are under a no-contact order, do not answer. Instead, take notes or screenshots of the attempts. You may have to use them in court later to prove that you continued to follow the order terms.
All of these efforts serve as the evidence you need before a judge is likely to reverse the terms of the protection order against you.
Wait At Least Two Years
Unfortunately, this may be the most difficult part. Restrained parties cannot begin the fight against a protection order immediately. Colorado courts want to allow time for the restrained party to prove they’ve been rehabilitated and changed their ways.
Therefore, restrained parties have to wait at least two years before they can file a motion to modify or dismiss the protection order.
If the initial motion is denied, you have to wait another two years to file a new motion. (This is also why it is imperative that you have enough evidence to prove that you have changed and will not commit subsequent crimes against the alleged victim.)
Prepare for Court
Preparation involves taking a few additional actions in order to ensure your best efforts in having the restraining order finally lifted. In order to ask the court to overturn the order, you will first file a motion. Then, your defense attorney will schedule a hearing in the county court that originally issued the order. After that, you appear before the judge.
Remember, Colorado’s first priority is keeping victims safe – if they do not feel as though the victim will be safe after dismissing the order, they will most likely reject your case. At this hearing, you will have to present your case and the evidence you’ve been gathering to show you have changed.
The judge will make a decision based on the circumstances of the original case, whether you violated any terms of the order while in place, and the efforts you’ve made to rehabilitate.
This process can feel frustrating, or even hopeless at times. However, an experienced defense lawyer by your side can ensure your best chance of having the protection order dismissed and getting back to normal life.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.