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  • Devin McIlvain

What is a Civil Protection Order?

Commonly referred to as a “restraining order,” a civil protection order is an order issued by the court that prohibits the restrained person from contacting, harassing, injuring, intimidating, molesting, threatening, touching, or stalking the protected person. In Colorado, there are two types of civil protection orders: (1) Temporary Protection Orders; and (2) Permanent Protection Orders. A violation of any civil protection order is a criminal misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum $5,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail.

 

What is a Temporary Protection Order?

A Temporary Protection Order is a protection order that lasts for up to 14 days- or up to one year if the parties agree to continue it. A person seeking a Temporary Protection Order, called the Petitioner or Plaintiff, will first file a motion with the Court stating that the subject of the protection order places him or her in“imminent danger.” The Court will then hold a hearing -- generally on that same day -- in which the Petitioner further explains the “imminent danger” posed by the subject of the order. Unlike with permanent protection orders, the Respondent does not have to be present for the Court to issue a temporary protection order. Upon finding that the Petitioner has proven “imminent danger,” the Court will then set a date for a permanent protection order hearing, at which the Court will determine whether it is necessary to make the temporary protection order permanent. If the Court does not issue a permanent protection order, the temporary protection will automatically expire on the date of the permanent protection order hearing.

 

What is a Permanent Civil Protection Order?

As the name suggests, a permanent protection order is nearly identical to the temporary protection order except that it has no expiration date and may only be obtained at the permanent protection order hearing after the Respondent/Defendant has been served with the Temporary Protection Order. At the hearing, you will need to prove the following two elements by a preponderance of the evidence:

 

1) “That the respondent has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order” and;

 

2) “That unless restrained [the respondent] will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person.”

 

However, unlike the temporary protection order hearing, the restrained person will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony as to why the protection order should not be made permanent. After hearing from both parties, the Court will then decide whether to issue a permanent protection order or terminate the temporary protection order. Permanent Civil Protection Orders in Colorado are permanent forever unless they are later modified or dismissed.

 

How are Civil Protection Orders Different from Criminal Protection Orders?

Generally, both civil and criminal protection orders contain similar language and result in the same consequences if violated. However, the two different protection orders differ significantly in how they are obtained and issued. Unlike the civil protection order, which requires a request from the Petitioner, the criminal protection order is issued at the Defendant’s first court appearance -- even if the alleged victim does not request it. Accordingly, the criminal protection order is also referred to as a “Mandatory Protection Order.”

 

While a civil protection order can be made permanent, a criminal protection order only lasts until the case is dismissed or the Defendant completes his or her sentence or probation. Because a criminal protection order will eventually expire, if you believe the danger will continue, it usually is a good idea to obtain a permanent civil protection order regardless of whether you have a Mandatory Protection Order. At Boeckx Law, we specialize in both obtaining and defending against civil protection orders. Give us a call if you need assistance.

 

  • Natalie K. Boeckx

If you have a divorce, custody, of protection order case that’s bound for court, then it’s time to start collecting documentary evidence to support your positions. Our expert trial attorneys can help you organize your documents to ensure maximum persuasive value in court. But, before we do that, consider these tips to get started on your own:

Start Recording: In cases involving domestic violence or verbal abuse, the perpetrators own words often do them in. Colorado is a “one party consent” state -- which means you can record telephone calls and in-person conversations without the other party’s consent or knowledge. There are many free apps you can download to record calls in the background. You can also download a voice recorder app to your phone and let it run in your pocket while talking to someone in person. Never stay in a dangerous situation for the sake of creating a recording. But, feel free to press that red circle if you know you are safe and there’s evidence in the air.

Social media posts: Screenshots are the best way to keep track of social media posts as the user can later delete them. Try to ensure you include identifying information about the poster and the date of the post in the screenshot. If you use Google Chrome as your internet browser you can highlight the part of the person’s facebook page you want to save and then right click and “print” the selection as a pdf. This makes a nice clean exhibit.

Text messages: Screenshots from your phone are also a great way to keep copies of text messages. Make sure you go far back enough to show the date and time of the message. With a lot of smartphones including iPhones it does not show up a date or time until a few days later. Make sure you take the screenshot after a timestamp has appeared on the message(s) before taking a screenshot. Try not to respond angrily or emotionally as the texts can also be used as evidence against you!

Backing up data: Make sure you backup all your screenshots, recordings and other evidence securely to the cloud in case you lose your phone or the other party gets a hold of your evidence and tries to destroy it. Forward emails to a new secret address or to a trusted family member. The safest option is to create a new cloud account that the other party is not aware of and ensure it is securely password protected.

Start now: Don’t wait to start collecting evidence until you know you need it or try to “bait” a person into giving you the evidence you need. This can put you in danger and also cause the court to question your motives. Also, it gives the other party the ability to start deleting information like social media posts once they know a court case is imminent. Start collecting evidence before you know you need it. This will also prove to the court that this is an ongoing issue, not a new or isolated incident.

Don’t worry: While documentary evidence is extremely helpful to prove a case, remember that your own testimony is also considered evidence. So, even if you don’t have any physical evidence you can still testify and present your case to the judge. A lack of physical evidence does not mean you will not prevail in your case.

At Boeckx Law we are experts in collecting evidence and presenting it at trial. Let us help you present your case!

 

  • Lindsey Johnson

Hurt people hurt people. Cliche as the saying might be, it’s true. The Center for Disease Control has spent years confirming this old saying through Adverse Childhood Experiences research. The simple takeaway from all that research: children who experience trauma growing up are more likely to experience trauma (and inflict it upon others) as adults.

 

That may be why you find yourself on this page in the first place: because you and your children are already experiencing trauma and it’s time to get out. If so, you’re in the right place and you’re taking the right first step toward independence and wellness for yourself and your children.

 

Good news: Your family can work through disagreements about parenting time and decision-making without harming your children. Yes -- even if you read that sentence and thought it couldn’t possibly apply to your situation.

 

At Boeckx Law we strive to resolve conflicts with a minimum of . . . well . . . conflict. We use years of negotiation, collaboration, and mediation experience to empower our clients and their families.

 

Hard feelings come with the territory when you’re working through divorce and custody disputes. But our firm specializes in helping our clients convert hard feelings into positive ideas. We use our experience to help you move toward mental, emotional, and physical health for yourself and your children -- whether or not your ex is ready to join you on that path.

 

At Boeckx Law, you’ll experience our commitment to healthy conflict resolution from the moment you walk in the door. Our entire team -- whether you are working with a senior attorney, a dedicated paralegal, or our friendly front-desk staff -- strives to live up to our motto as a “client-centered, resolution-focused” firm.

 

That’s why we focus so much effort on effective communication strategies, setting appropriate boundaries with your children and your ex, and choosing battles (of course, we will fight hard when we have to . . . but we’ll show you every alternative first).

 

If you find your family immersed in conflict that threatens your wellbeing, call us today. We can help you plot a course to smoother seas. In fact, we see that as our calling.