What to Do When Your Ex Calls, But Also Has a CO Protective Order

The Coronavirus pandemic has turned all of our lives up-side-down in one respect or another. This is especially true for Coloradoans currently bound to the court system in some way.

For those dealing with a protective order in particular, on top of any restrictions you’ve experienced under the current pandemic protocol, a protective order can further restrict your ability to travel and can have an overreaching impact on your livelihood.

Another requirement often associated with protective orders?

No contact with your ex.

Understand that for the most part, the rules are currently being enforced as usual. Violating your protective order can still lead to criminal penalties, even when you’re not the one that initiates the contact.

Recently Handed Down a Protective Order? Here’s Some Background

Protective orders are also sometimes referred to as restraining orders, though in Colorado law all different types of restraining orders are technically under the umbrella of a protective order.

They are court-issued demands that require one person to cease all contact and stay physically away from another. They can be permanent or temporary – the duration of the protective order is specified in the order itself.

Protective orders are the most common issues for domestic violence situations, but can also be issued due to:

  • Stalking
  • Abuse of an at-risk adult or the elderly
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical assault
  • Threat

If you have recently been issued a protective order, but your ex needs to reach you due to COVID-19-related issues, it’s best to reach out to an experienced Colorado attorney for advice on how to communicate.

Know Which Type of CO Protective Order Was Issued

There are three main types of protective orders issued in Colorado, and each addresses a particular part of the process of separating the protected from the accused.

They are the emergency protective order, the temporary protective order, and the permanent protective order.

Emergency Protective Order

This type of protective order is technically a temporary protective order but is available when the courts are not open. If your protective order has been issued within the last few weeks, it was probably one of these.

In this case, a judge likely issued the order over the phone since many courts in Colorado are closed or operating on a skeleton crew.

These orders are only good for a few days and are normally meant to be only a substitute in emergency situations of domestic violence, and until the normal procedures for a temporary or permanent protective order can be followed.

Temporary Protective Order

These protective orders can be obtained by filing a complaint form with the local county clerk and going before the judge to have the complaint reviewed.

When the judge issues the temporary protective order, it becomes effective when served to the subject of the protective order and is only effective for up to 30 days.

If the 30-mark passed in the last couple of weeks, talk to an attorney. This might make a big difference in the freedom you have to speak with your ex about family or other matters.

Permanent Protective Order

This long-term version of a temporary protective order is not actually indefinite as its title would suggest.

Instead, it includes the scheduling of a protective order hearing where the subject of the order will go in front of a judge to offer reasons why the order should not be extended.

If the protective order against you is on-going, the way you handle communication with the person who asked for protection may lend to your case for not having it extended, so tread carefully!

How a Protective Order Can Be Violated

Protective orders often prohibit the subject from any form of communication with the party covered in the order.

Both electronic communication and communication over the phone are usually included, even when the subject isn’t the one initiating the communication. Here is a tally of the most common ways we see a protective order violated inadvertently:

  • The parties calling or texting one another
  • Contact through social media
  • Sending a letter or note
  • Checking in on the protected party wherever they are via driveby or walk-up
  • Showing up at a child’s school if they are involved in the order
  • Approaching the person protected by the order in public

Violating a protective order can result in a Class 2 misdemeanor, and a prior conviction under the same order can elevate the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor.

How a Protective Order Can Be Violated

With the coronavirus keeping many people at home, it’s important to understand that sheltering in place cannot occur with a person who has a protective order against you.

Take care, and be safe. If you have any questions about how to communicate with your ex if and when needed, seek professional legal advice.


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.