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In Colorado, a protection order can be obtained on the mere word of another person and with no notice to you.
Often referred to as “restraining orders,” protective orders are legally enforceable documents ordering one person to stay a certain distance away from the person who filed for protection and avoid contacting them. To secure a temporary protection order against you, all someone needs to do is go to court and claim you have been abusive towards them. No proof or evidence is required to obtain a temporary order, and you will not be able to argue your case or tell your side of the story until after you have been served.
If you have been served with a protective or restraining order, it is of the upmost importance that you abide by the terms of your order. Once issued, the violation of a protective order will qualify as a criminal offense, and subject you to a criminal conviction and potential jail time.
You should read your protection order carefully to ensure you understand each and every one of the terms. Below, we’ve outlined some of the basic actions you can’t and can do under a standard temporary protective or restraining order.
Contact the alleged victim in any way. You may not contact the alleged victim in person, on the phone, via text, or electronic communications. Even if the victim contacts you first, you will be in violation of your order if you respond in any way. In addition, accidentally dialing a victim’s number or sending out a mass email that includes their address could be charged as a criminal violation.
Contact their friends, relatives, or coworkers. A protection order will also usually forbid you to contact the alleged victim’s friends, family members, coworkers, and other third-party associates. That means that even if you shared mutual friends, you may be unable to contact them under the terms of the order.
Contact your kids. Often, a protective order will bar you from contacting your children via phone, letters, or a third-party. Even if a child calls you first, this can be interpreted as a violation of the order.
Go anywhere near the victim. Typically, a protective order will require you to stay a certain amount of distance away from the person who filed the order. In fact, if you accidentally run into him or her at the grocery store, you could be charged with violating the terms of your order. If you work at the same location or near the alleged victim’s work place, you may be forbidden from going into work and lose your job. If they follow you and call the police, you could be arrested for criminal violation of your protective order.
Possess firearms. From the time a protective order is issued, you will be prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or acquiring a firearm or dangerous weapon. If you already own a weapon, you must have a friend or family member remove it and store it in an approved location.
Visit home once under the supervision of an officer. When your protective order is served, you may be escorted from your home without time to pack sufficiently. You may briefly visit your home after under the supervision of a police offer to collect any undisputed personal belongings.
Document attempts to contact you. If the alleged victim calls you, texts you, or emails you, you should save copies of these contact attempts with the date and time of receipt. Copies of contact attempts could be used as evidence against the victim’s accusations in court.
Hire a protection order attorney. Protective orders can be complex and confusing, so it’s a good idea hire a knowledgeable protection order attorney who can review the order and explain your rights. And when it comes time to go to court, your attorney can help you fight to keep the temporary protective order from becoming permanent.
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.