How to File a Civil Protection Order – Kalamaya | Goscha Law Firm

There is a common question lawyers get when someone is victimized. That question is, “what can I do?” This is an oversimplified solution, but typically there are 3 options. 1. call the police, 2. file a civil lawsuit, or 3. file a civil protection order.

Civil Protection Orders

Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 13-14-100, civil protection orders can be filed by any party who needs protection from the threat of abuse or violence. Civil protection orders are sometimes known as restraining orders. These are different than protection orders that get filed in a criminal case.

They have many advantages for people who people who no longer want contact with another person. Temporary civil protection orders get issued quickly. In emergencies they can even get ordered on holidays or weekends. They are relatively easy to file, even without a lawyer. Once accepted by the court, protection orders add a layer of protection for people who feel endangered. Enforcing protection orders is also easy. Protected parties just call the police if there is a violation of the protection order or, less commonly, file a contempt motion with the court.

Civil protection orders can have unwanted consequences though. Often civil protection orders become permanent. Many people don’t want permanent no contact provisions, especially for members of their family or significant others. Civil protection orders can be difficult to modify or reverse after the fact. These protection orders may also appear on background checks and may force another party to give up firearms.

Filing a Protection Order

In filing a protection order, there are two phases:

  1. Getting a Temporary Protection Order (TRO) issued or Emergency protective order (EPO) issued.
  2. Going to a hearing to get a permanent protection order (PPO).

The Colorado Revised Statutes give some direction on how protection orders should be filed and the standard in which they should be ruled on. However, the procedure on how protection orders get issued varies greatly over the state of Colorado. The procedure on protection orders is different for an Aspen protection order, to a Glenwood Springs Protection Order, to a vail protection order, to any protection order filed elsewhere in Colorado.

Under the statute, a temporary protection order (TRO) will get issued to prevent assaults and threatened bodily injury, to prevent domestic abuse, to prevent emotional abuse of the elderly or an at-risk adult, to prevent sexual assault or abuse, and to prevent stalking. No crime is needed to be reported or filed for a civil protection order to be issued.

For a permanent protection order, the court needs to find 1. That there was imminent danger or a violation that warranted the temporary protection order and 2. That without a permanentProtection order that the conduct will continue. The court needs to meet this standard by a preponderance of the evidence or that the evidence is more likely than not.

Permanent protection order hearings, which looks more like a full-blown trial, examine if the standard of proof is met. This can be a complex hearing that may have implications on other proceedings, criminal, family, or civil. Both sides will have an opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence. The Colorado Rules of Evidence apply at this hearing. After both sides present evidence, argument will be made to the judge as to whether the standard has been met for a permanent protection order.

2018 Changes to Civil Protection Orders

Recent changes to the protection order laws have made civil protection orders independent of criminal protection orders. Criminal protection orders will issue in a domestic violence criminal case or in other criminal cases with a victim. In the past, if a criminal protection order had issued, the judge ruling on the civil protection order could take into account that the order could be duplicative. As of November 1st, 2018, new law is being put into effect that states judges in a civil protection order matter, need to make a ruling independent of the existence of a criminal protection order. This is a win for domestic violence victims or victims who want to control the civil protection order process, independent from a criminal proceeding that they do not control.

Kalamaya | Goscha is a Colorado law firm founded by Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha. The boutique mountain law practice specializes in family law, criminal defense, and civil protection orders. Kalamaya | Goscha has law offices in Edwards, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs. To speak to an attorney call (970) 315-2365.

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