Civil protection orders/restraining orders
Civil protection orders/restraining orders are very serious and can result in a person being charged with a class 2 misdemeanor offense, can be on someone's record permanently, and can interfere with a person's liberty interests and their ability to get housing and jobs.
Temporary civil protection orderFor a temporary civil protection order, the party seeking it goes in front of a local county court judge or magistrate alone, without the party present that they are seeking the restraining order against. They need to fill our a sworn affidavit detailing all offenses that cause them to seek a restraining order, including the most serious offense. Additionally, they must complete an incident checklist as well. Then, they testify at the podium in court before the judge or magistrate to ask for the civil protection order. There are only a few statutory grounds for a protection order in Colorado.
Statutory grounds for a protection orderAs a county judge, I had people asking me daily for a civil protection order because: someone "looked at them funny," "someone called them names," someone swore at them," or someone "flipped them off." I can tell you that by themselves none of these actions suffice or are sufficient to merit a restraining order or a civil protection order under CO law. These are the requirements to obtain a protection order: 1) the other person has been physically violent towards you - assault, harassment, etc.; 2) the person has threatened you with physical violence; 3) the person has committed child abuse or child sexual abuse; 4) the person has committed abuse of the elderly (including overmedicating or restraining an elderly person), and 5) the person has engaged in stalking you - that means threatening you and then following you around, calling, texting, or emailing for no good reason (think Fatal Attraction). The Court actually waives the filing fee if you are filing for a protection order alleging stalking.
Permanent protection order/restraining order hearingAt the temporary protection order hearing, it is just you and the judge and not very confrontational. However, you need to get a process server or sheriff to serve the protection order on the other party and have them notified of the permanent protection order hearing. If the protection order is made permanent, it is permanent in CO and there is no expiration date. If the case is a domestic violence case, it will also forever prevent the restrained party from every possessing a firearm and forever from serving in law enforcement or the armed forces. So, it is extremely serious. There is a HUGE added issue a that permanent orders hearings. The judge needs to take testimony that not only has an assault, threat of violence, stalking, etc. already occurred by a preponderance of the evidence, that "unless the protection order is made permanent" that such conduct will continue to occur. That is an extremely difficult thing to prove. Regardless of what side you are on in a permanent protection order hearing, you need to have a competent attorney representing your best interests. If you are given a permanent protection order and later have any contact with the protected person, you will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor carrying up to a year of jail and up to a $1,000 fine.