Protection Orders in Colorado - Difference between Criminal and Civil
Protection orders get confusing fast and not knowing the status of the protection order you are involved with can lead to serious consequences. Do not assume or guess when it comes to your protection order. You can have multiple and even both types of Protection Orders at the same time.
Criminal Protection Orders:A protection order is issued in all criminal cases in Colorado including juvenile cases. It is issued the first time the defendant appears in court. They are issued because the law requires it in all cases, not because any one requested it. All of the protection orders have the restrained party being the defendant. All of them have a provision that states that you are restrained from, "harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts" with which you are charged.
They may include things the restrained party cannot do that list a specific person or people, those people are usually alleged victims but may include witnesses. These provisions are added in certain types of crimes, most commonly domestic violence. They are orders to vacate the home of the person, stay away from the home and "any other location where the victim is likely to be found". There can be an order for no contact and be careful with what no contact means. No contact includes contact through a third party.
The court may add provisions it deems appropriate to protect a victim or witness.
The order may include no possession of fire arms or any other weapon and may prohibit the use or consumption of alcohol.
NOTE: These are issued in criminal cases, not cases that have only traffic violations, however, your bond may include prohibitions especially not allowing you to use drugs or alcohol.
NOTE: If you also have a bond on your case -- Violation of bond conditions is another, separate, crime that can have serious consequences and lead to the first bond being revoked and you going back into custody with a new case and having two bonds and new protection order.
NOTE: Also, your bond may include a provision for you to abide by all protection orders making it not only the crime of violation of protection order but you could be charged with violation of bond conditions as well. Thus, your current situation will worsen geometrically.
Civil Protection OrdersIf the order is not from a criminal case it is a civil protection order. The most common types come from domestic relations cases (divorce) or when requested by a person seeking protection. In many ways there is more flexibility in the provisions of a civil protection orders.
Civil protection orders can, and usually do, include no contact provisions and exclusions from places. This is where the, "he is not allowed within 100 yards of me" comes into play. If you are unsure if the protection order is civil or criminal and it has a provision to stay a certain number of yards away it is most assuredly a civil protection order.
The provision can include prohibited distances and no going to specific places like the protected party's work or school and can allow for exceptions like no contact unless it is in regard to children. The person requesting the protection order, called the petitioner, can request protection for children as well.
These protection orders are often requested by victims and regardless of criminal orders so there can be both a civil and a criminal protection order in place at the same time. They may also include an injunction (meaning the court is telling you must do something specifically) to not stop paying bills and to not dispose or conceal property.
NOTE FOR THE PROTECTED PARTY: Anytime you agree to, or the court allows, an exception to a no contact provision you should know that it is very common for the restrained party to take advantage of that. For example, no contact except for communication to exchange the children often results in the restrained party talking about other things and finding a way to relate it back to the children to not be in violation. In effect the exceptions can make proving a violation much more difficult although the courts do not look favorably on the party that appears to be "game playing" or pushing the limits. Since this is your safety at risk you should understand some of these possibilities.