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What is a Protection Order?
A Protection Order (or a “restraining order”) is an order issued by a judge or law enforcement to keep one person away from another in order to prevent threats of violence, acts of violence, stalking, sexual assault, etc. This order is enforceable by the police, and is a criminal charge if violated.
Types of Protection Orders
- Criminal Protection Orders - are mandatory “no contact” orders that are issued whenever a domestic violence related arrest is made. The people involved are not allowed to have any contact with one another. These are mandated and the victim does not have to do anything to get this. Criminal Protection Orders will stay in place until the defendant completes their sentence. However, many times a victim may want to lift this order. In order to do that, they must go to the District Attorney’s office to request to have it lifted. This does not mean that it will be lifted, it is still up to a judge to decide if they will lift the order or not.
- Civil Protection Orders - are orders that a victim requests by going to court and asking a judge that their abuser have no contact with them.
The Civil Protection Order Process
- A victim must go during business hours to the court to request a “Temporary Protection Order” (TPO). They can file for this in the county where they live, work, or wherever the incident happened.
- The victim fills out a packet of paperwork and files it with the clerk. A protection order is free to a victim of dating violence, but others do have to pay or apply to have the fee waived.
- Then, on the same day, they are heard by the next available judge. The victim will be asked to tell the judge why they want the TPO. If that judge finds that the victim is in “imminent danger,” they will grant the TPO and give the person a return court date (within 2 weeks) for the Permanent Protection Order (PPO) hearing.
- The victim must have the defendant served with the paperwork. This is done through the Sheriff’s Office (the county’s police) wherever the defendant lives, works, or can be found. Information on how to go about this step can be found on the paperwork.
- If the victim still wants the PPO, they return to court at the scheduled time and the judge decides if the order should be made permanent (does not expire, ever). If the judge finds that (a) What the victim wrote in their complaint actually occurred, and that (b) The behaviors complained about are likely to continue, the judge will make the order permanent. The defendant (the person the PO is against) is allowed to attend this hearing and explain why they feel it should or should not be in place.
Can a Teenager Get a Protection Order?
Yes, however Colorado state law doesn’t explicitly say whether or not a teen needs a parent to accompany them or if the parents will be notified. It basically is up to the judge.
Do Protection Orders work?
Protection Orders do often protect an individual from further abuse. However, some people obey protection orders and some do not. After all, a Protection Order is simply a piece of paper, and it is the victim’s responsibility to notify the police when the abuser violates the order. When protection orders do work, it is typically because it is part of an overall safety plan. It can be an effective tool in keeping someone safe.
When a person is deciding whether or not a protection order is the right thing for them, they may want to consider whether the abuser has obeyed court orders and have been responsive to police in the past. If so, then a protection order may be a good option. If, on the other hand, that person has intentionally disregarded police or laws, a protection order may not be the solution for that person. It may only serve to anger the person they are afraid of and further aggravate the situation.