If you have someone in your life that you’d rather not be around, you’re certainly not alone. Most of us know people who, for one reason or another, we don’t get along with, whether it be a personality conflict, a history of disputes, or otherwise. When that person is your ex, the feelings of aversion are even more acute.
But what does it take to prevent someone from legally contacting you? There are different ways an individual can be prohibited from contacting someone under Colorado law. Frequently, people want a restraining order to prevent their exes from harassing them. However, what most would consider to be garden-variety harassment, i.e. yelling and insults in the course of a disagreement, is not always enough to get a protection order.
Temporary and Permanent Civil Protection Orders
Civil protection orders are at first temporary, civil restraining orders which are, in some cases, made permanent by a judge or magistrate, sometimes by agreement of the restrained party, or otherwise after a contested hearing where the parties present testimony evidence in support of their positions. The case is opened by the aggrieved person filing a motion with the court along with an affidavit stating specifically the reasons for which the person is requesting a protection order.
The motion and affidavit are reviewed by a judge or magistrate ex parte, meaning that only the aggrieved person is present, not the person against whom the protection order is sought. If the judicial officer finds, on the basis of the affidavit, that an imminent danger exists, he or she will issue a temporary restraining order. The temporary restraining order must be personally served on the the restrained party by law enforcement or a private process serve. An affidavit duly completed by the person serving the temporary restraining order must be filed with the court.
The permanency hearings are generally held within 14 days after the temporary restraining order is issued. If the restrained person does not appear and there is no affidavit in the court file indicating that the restrained person has been properly served, the permanent protection order hearing, generally, cannot be held. Litigants are usually each entitled to one continuance of the hearing.
Civil protection orders are issued by courts to prevent assaults, domestic abuse, threatened violence and abuse. A person merely saying things you don’t agree with, don’t want to hear, or would otherwise rather not listen to, does not rise to having legal grounds for a civil protection order.
Stalking can be grounds for a protection order. Stalking is defined under the Colorado Criminal Code in C.R.S. Section 18-3-602 and involves a credible threat, repeated contact, communication or following coupled with a credible threat, or reasonably causing serious emotional distress. Proving stalking at a protection order hearing can be very difficult given the constraints imposed on most litigants.
A restrained person who violates a protection order, whether temporary or permanent, commits a misdemeanor criminal offense and is subject to immediate arrest by law enforcement. It doesn’t matter why the contact occurred or whether the offender had a justifiable reason for contacting the restrained party. The restrained party is most likely going to jail.
If a protection order is made permanent, the restrained party may file a motion to have the protection order dismissed after a period of 2 years, provided a number of applicable conditions are met. The party seeking dismissal of the protection order has the burden of showing that the protection order is no longer necessary and their motion must be personally served on the protected party in accordance with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.
No Contact Through Criminal, Juvenile and Domestic Cases
Courts can and frequently do order no contact in other types of cases. Criminal defendants are commonly ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victims in their case and sometimes with alleged victims’ family members and other witnesses. Likewise, no contact can be ordered between a parent and child in a dependency and neglect case or between ex-spouses in a divorce or custody case.
No contact orders differ from protection orders in that a violation in certain cases does not always result in an automatic arrest. Frequently, in divorce cases for example, a person who believes their ex violated a no contact order must take some specific court action like filing a motion for contempt. In this way, no contact orders are not as severe as protection orders and are sometimes agreed to by both sides to avoid the harsher sanctions of a permanent protection order.
This article is just an introduction to protection and no contact orders in Colorado. If you are seeking a protection order, you should consult and be represented by an attorney experienced with this area of law. Whether you are seeking a protection order or are the restrained party to a protection order, you should contact Attorney Brian Boal at Boal Law Firm to schedule a consultation about your protection order matter today.