Civil protection or restraining orders are unfortunately common in divorce, and in situations where a once healthy relationship turns bad. Sometimes the best way for someone to protect him or herself is to seek a civil protection order, often called a restraining order. Obtaining or defending against a civil protection order is a serious process and failure to understand and follow the protection order laws could result in a loss of your rights, or worse, personal harm.
A civil protection order is a legal order issued by a judge or magistrate that protects one individual from another individual’s actions or threats. In Colorado, temporary or permanent civil protection orders can be issued for various reasons:
- To prevent assaults and threatened bodily harm;
- To prevent domestic abuse;
- To prevent emotional abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult;
- To prevent sexual assaults or abuse and;
- To prevent stalking.
A temporary protection order may be issued if the judge or magistrate finds that an imminent (likely) danger exists to the person seeking protection (the Petitioner). The court will then consider all relevant evidence presented by the Petitioner, but will not determine the guilt or innocence of the potentially restrained person (the Respondent).
What Are The Advantages of Civil Protection (Restraining) Orders?
As in any court proceeding there are advantages and disadvantages. While a protection order alone cannot guarantee you or your loved ones’ safety, they can offer speedy relief, an extra layer of personal protection, and peace of mind. More specifically, the order can remove the Respondent from your home (if necessary), give you temporary care and control of your children, order the Respondent to stay a certain distance from your home, your work, and any public place that you regularly visit.
It is important to remember that the person seeking the protection order (the Petitioner) does not need to prove that he or she has reported the incident to law enforcement, that criminal charges have been filed, or that they are willing to participate in the prosecution of a criminal case.
Moreover, you do not need a lawyer to get a protection order. Although there are strict requirements that you must follow in order to properly file and receive a protection order many people do so without the help of a trained lawyer.
What Are The Disadvantages of Civil Protection (Restraining) Orders?
The burden of dealing with the legal system is on you. Be prepared to deal with the necessary paperwork and personal service process. Additionally, there is a fee for service only for those who are not a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
While many people successfully navigate the legal system without a skilled lawyer, others find the legal system too confusing or intimidating to handle alone. The decision whether to hire a lawyer or not is a personal choice that you, and you alone should make. Before making your decision you should consider your comfort level and familiarity with the legal system.
The key to “winning” a protection order hearing is often how well you are able to present your case to a judge. To help bolster your claims you should bring all evidence (exhibits) that show the harm/threats, be prepared to question your witnesses as well as possibly question any witnesses the Respondent may bring to a Permanent Protection Order (“PPO”) Hearing. At that Permanent Protection Order Hearing don’t be surprised if the Respondent appears with an attorney. Because the consequences of protection orders are so high many people feel more comfortable having a trained lawyer by their side.
Contact Andres Guevara for Civil Protection Orders
If you need help in getting or applying for a civil protection order, or in defending and order sought against you, contact the Law Office of Andres R. Guevara. In addition to our work as a criminal defense lawyers in Colorado, our firm has experience in handling civil protection orders and we are ready to help you.