Colorado law makes it a misdemeanor to violate a protective order (often called a restraining order) where penalties can reach up to 24 months in jail and/or $5,000 in fines. How severely a violation is punished depends upon which kind of protective order was in place and how serious the violation was.
Currently, Colorado has two types of restraining orders to protect someone against domestic violence:
- Civil Protection Orders
- Criminal Protection Orders
We’ll explain these types of orders below, as well as provide information about how violating either could be penalized. Before we get to that, though, we should note which types of activity could violate any kind of protective order.
Protective orders generally require the restrained person to refrain from:
- Coming within a certain physical distance from the protected party, their home, and family members
- Entering locations where the protected party is likely to be found, such as their workplace, church, or another such location
- Communicating with the protected party under any circumstances and by any means – even if the protected party initiates or consents to the communication
- Owning firearms or any other weapon (these must be surrendered even if otherwise lawfully owned)
- Accessing the Internet or participating in social media
- Consuming alcohol or controlled substances
A judge may also prohibit any other kind of activity if he or she believes it is necessary to do to protect the alleged victim. This means that the protected person’s complaint will be evaluated on an individual level, and restrictions will be imposed to address how the restrained party could potentially harm them.
Civil Protection Order Violations
A civil protection order can be granted upon the request of someone alleging he or she is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other kinds of abuse – including threats of violence when no actual violence has actually yet occurred. Judges are not obligated to issue these orders, and the complainant must take the initiative to file for one.
Violating a civil protection order carries the following consequences:
- First Offense: Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by three to 12 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
- Subsequent Offenses: Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by six to 24 months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
Criminal Protection Order Violations
A criminal protection order is mandatory when someone has been arrested for a crime and the police or judge suspects that actual or threatened violence was used to punish, coerce, or control someone else. Crimes that can lead to these types of restraining orders include domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, assault, menacing, stalking, and false imprisonment.
Violating a criminal protection order carries the following consequences:
- First Offense: Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by six to 18 months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
- Subsequence Offenses: Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by six to 24 months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
Even if the defendant is found not guilty on the charges that mandated the protection order, he or she can incur penalties for violating the order.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
Defendants accused of violating their restraining orders need experienced legal assistance to help them defend against their charges. Witnesses and police can be mistaken. The protected person made a false accusation against you. There is no evidence that you committed a violation. A qualified attorney can use defenses such as these to mitigate or eliminate your responsibility for an accusation against you.
At Orr Law Firm, we have the experienced and skilled legal counsel you can trust with your defense in matters such as these. For more information about how we can help, contact us online.