February 21, 2024
If you have ever been in a fight with another person, you know that sometimes you say things you don’t mean. For example, a partner could threaten leaving, taking your kids, taking your property, or even filing a restraining order.
Most of the time, these threats are empty and don’t amount to anything after you’ve both calmed down. But what happens if a partner, roommate, or family member does decide to file a restraining order? When are they issued, and what does that mean for you?
Joe Tumpkin Hasn’t Even Been Arrested, but He Has a Restraining Order
Let’s look at the recent story surrounding University of Colorado assistant coach Joe Tumpkin. In late December, Tumpkin’s ex-girlfriend of three years file a complaint with the Boulder County Courts claiming that Tumpkin had abused her multiple times since February 2015. The violence got so bad, said the ex-girlfriend, that Tumpkin would choke her, drag her by the hair, and threaten to kill men that she was interested in.
Tumpkin has served as the safeties coach of the University of Colorado’s football team for the past two years. He has been suspended indefinitely without pay while the criminal investigation is ongoing. His ex-girlfriend also has a restraining order against him. Tumpkin cannot go within 100 yards of his ex, and is currently prohibited from possessing or buying firearms.
From all of this, you might think that he is on the verge of conviction. Nope. In fact, he has yet to be charged with domestic violence – he hasn’t even been arrested.
When Restraining Orders Can Be Filed
Even if you have not been arrested for domestic violence, you could still face a temporary or permanent restraining order. As long as an individual feels that there is a likely imminent danger from you, based on your actions or words, they may be granted a restraining or protection order.
It starts with a temporary restraining order (TRO). In Colorado, temporary protection orders are required after a domestic violence arrest – along with a night in jail.
These restraining orders last for 14 days. Defendants will be given a court date and must appear to plead their case. Because Colorado has unique “victim’s rights” laws when it comes to domestic violence, you as the defendant must prove that you should not be issued a protection order, rather than the other way around.
After the TRO hearing, a judge will decide if a permanent restraining order (PRO) is necessary. As the name implies, these restraining orders last indefinitely.
Bottom line: Colorado has some of the toughest domestic violence laws in the country. If you are arrested for domestic violence, you have a long fight ahead of you.
If You Have Been Issued a Protection Order
Even if you are not arrested at the time that a protection order is filed, you may face criminal charges down the line. Evidence could be revealed later that could result in domestic violence charges, or you may face charges for violating your protection order.
Is there anything that can be done? Yes. There are ways to defend against protection orders. In some cases, it may appropriate to try and prove that your actions or alleged threats were done in self-defense. You may have to fight completely made-up allegations altogether. Or it might be useful to show that you are making sincere efforts to control your temper or getting sober.
Different strategies will be more or less appropriate depending on charges against you, your relationship to the alleged victim, and the circumstances that led to the protection order being filed.
Reach out to a knowledgeable Denver criminal defense attorney to discuss the defense strategy that is most likely to earn you a positive outcome in your situation.
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.