Colorado makes it simple to apply for a restraining order (also called a civil protection order). Here a few steps to take to get restraining order.
Five Steps for Getting a Restraining Order
- File a Complaint with your local County Court. The necessary forms can be found online at www.courts.state.co.us. After you complete the Verified Complaint/Motion for Protection Order (JDF 402), and Information Sheet for Registering for a Protection Order (JDF 442) you will need to have them signed in the presence of a Notary Public. Depending on your case there may be a fee to file your documents with the court.
These forms are crucial to your case and you must give specific information about the threats/abuse, such as; what happened, when it happened, where it happened, if there are any witnesses, how often it happens etc.
- Attend a Temporary (ex parte) Protection Order Hearing (typically the same day you file the complaint). Because this is an “ex parte” hearing you can get the restraining order without the abuser being notified beforehand or even present in court.
A temporary protection order is designed to protect you until your hearing to make the temporary order a permanent order (typically within 14 days). The order is not enforceable until the abuser is personally served.
- Personally serve the Respondent with the Temporary Protection Order. Service means you are notifying the Respondent that you have a court order that is in effect. Your local Sheriff, a local process server, or someone you know who is 18 years or older and who is not a party to the action, can serve the Respondent a copy of your Verified Complaint/Motion for Protection Order, the Temporary Protection Order, and an Affidavit of Service.
NOTE: You CANNOT personally serve the Respondent yourself. Remember to bring the original documents to Court on the day of your Permanent Protection Order Hearing, and always carry the returned Affidavit of Service and Temporary Protection Order with you in case you ever need to contact law enforcement.
- Attend the Permanent Protection Order Hearing on the date set by the Court or your temporary order will automatically expire. Again, bring all original documents with you to court.
- Call witnesses and present evidence at the PPO Hearing. The judge can issue subpoenas for witnesses you may need to testify. Bring any and all physical evidence, including; photos of injuries or damaged property, medical records, 911 calls, and videos. Do not worry if you don’t have physical evidence to bring to court. By far the most important evidence is what you tell the judge. Make a plan regarding what you want to say, write your plan including a list of the facts you want to tell the judge.
- You will need to show that the restrained person has committed the acts that led to the issuance of the temporary protection order AND
- That unless restrained, they will continue to commit the acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person
The Permanent Order Hearing is conducted in front of a judge not a jury. Both parties can, and often do, call multiple witnesses. Both parties have the ability to cross-examine the witnesses called. Having a lawyer for the permanent Order Hearing is not required, but it is certainly advisable for both parties as the Colorado rules of evidence apply and should be understood by the parties. If you are defending against a Colorado Civil Protection Order, you must seriously consider retaining a lawyer. If the restraining order is made permanent, you will lose many rights including your right to possess a firearm.
Author: Denver Lawyer Andres R. Guevara