There are two forms of protection orders (commonly called restraining orders) under Colorado law: a temporary protection order and a permanent protection order. Each order requires the person seeking the order to show a different type and amount of evidence.
Temporary Protection Orders
The first to go into place is a temporary protection order. This is what the person seeking a protection order will first obtain. The person files papers with the court, and then appears alone before the judge to explain why he/she feels that they are in “imminent danger” of harm from the person that they seek the restraining order against. 13-14-102(4)(a) CRS.
How does this one-sided hearing happen?
The person seeking the order presents testimony and evidence to the court so that he/she can get immediate protection from the person who has harmed them. The temporary protection order hearing in an “ex parte” hearing (where only the party seeking the protection order testifies because the other person has not been told about the hearing). Think about it this way: The temporary protection order hearing is “secret” for the protection of the person asking for the order. After all, the secrecy gives the harmed person a chance to get the restraining order, and then to get away from their batterer.
Imminent danger of harm
The person seeking the temporary protection order must show that they are in imminent danger of harm. What is imminent danger? Courts are instructed to determine whether or not the most recent incident of alleged abuse actually occurred, as well as other relevant evidence concerning the “safety and protection of the persons seeking the protection order.” The lapse of time between an act of abuse or threat of harm and the filing of the protection order request is not grounds for denial of the protection order request itself. This last provision is in the law because legislators wanted to protect persons who had been injured or threatened, and who were afraid to seek protection from the person that battered them.
Order of protection and notice of hearing to respondent
After the temporary protection order is in place, the protected person must then have the respondent (the person that they are protected from) served personally with an order of protection and notice of hearing on the permanent restraining order. The latter hearing takes place anywhere between 7 and 21 days after the temporary protection order is issued.
Permanent Protection Order Hearing
The permanent protection order hearing is one where both parties are present, and where the respondent can dispute the restraining order. This time, both parties are present and they can present evidence. However, the court must make the restraining order permanent if it hears evidence that the harmful/threatening acts are “reasonably likely to recur in the future.” In re Marriage of Fiffe 140 P. 3d 160 (Colo. App. 2005).
Effects of Being Permanently Restrained
If you are restrained permanently:
- You cannot own a gun.
- Your name will be on a police registry forever
- You may have issues at border crossings and on re-entering the US after foreign travel.
Serious consequences call for serious responses — get a lawyer. If you are seeking a protection order, remember that your life or well-being is threatened. Don’t leave your well-being in the hands of an amateur — get a lawyer.
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