People get Arrested Every Day on Restraining Order Violations in Colorado
Every week or so, I get a call from someone who was arrested on an old restraining order. Five years ago when they were dating one of them obtained a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). It was never made permanent and now they are married with children. Turns out 5 years ago, shortly after the TRO was issued, the restrained party called the petitioner and a warrant was issued 5 years ago, and nobody knew about the fact that a warrant was issued. What can be done about the new criminal violation of a Restraining Order that carries mandatory jail, and how can I lift the old Restraining Order if it still exists because I do not want it? The quick answer is:
- Call an attorney on the new criminal violation of a Permanent Restraining Order, and;
- We will have to go to Court to get a Judge to try and lift the old Permanent Restraining Order.
First, let us understand what is a Restraining Order and how do we get one.
- Most restraining orders are issued in Criminal Cases. You may not want a Restraining Order but a Judge may likely issue it anyway;
- Restraining Orders also arise in District Court Divorce cases, or in District Court Child Custody cases. These are District Court Civil Restraining Orders;
- A Civil County Court is authorized to grant you an emergency Restraining Order. Once made permanent, they never go away. As one person jokingly stated, “the Government never does any extra work without lots of paperwork, lots of your money and lots of your time.” They may be right!
How to get a Restraining Order in Colorado:
Colorado authorizes a Civil County Court Judge or Magistrate to issue emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent assaults and threatened bodily harm. If the matter arises from a divorce, or child custody case, it is ALWAYS better to litigate your matter in the District Court Divorce case / District Court Child Custody case. The reason is an order from a District Court Judge trumps an order from a County Court Judge (or Magistrate). It makes no sense to litigate a County Court TRO case in front of a County Court Judge (or Magistrate) only to find out that the entire matter will simply be re-litigated upstairs by a District Court Judge in the District Court Divorce case / District Court Child Custody case.
It is a simple process and procedure to get a TRO. It is always a good idea to call the County Court Clerk in your county and find out when the court issues TRO’s. Most counties have TRO hearings every weekday. Simply go to the County Court Clerk’s office at the appointed time and fill out a form known as a “petition,” which details why you are seeking a TRO.
You will complete the petition (this makes you the Petitioner). Once you complete the Petition, the Clerk will take you before a Judge (or Magistrate). The Judge (or Magistrate) will review your petition. They may ask a few questions and then have you raise your right hand and swear that everything in your petition is the truth.
The Judge (or Magistrate) has now issued you a TRO. The TRO has no legal effect until the Respondent (the person who will respond to your request to have the permanently restrained from you) is served. It is always a good idea to pay to have the Sheriff serve the Respondent. Keep a copy of the TRO with you at all times. If the defendant violates the TRO, call 911 immediately.
On the TRO, there will be a date and time listed for a Permanent Restraining Order or “PRO” hearing. At the PRO hearing, the Respondent will have an opportunity to tell the County Court Judge (or Magistrate) why he or she believes the restraining order should not be made permanent. The County Court Judge (or Magistrate) will then make a decision. If granted Temporary Restraining Order will now be permanent (as in forever). It is important to remember that you the Petitioner must attend the PRO hearing or else the Temporary Restraining Order will automatically lapse.
How to Get Rid of a Permanent Restraining Order
If the petitioner wants to remove the Permanent Restraining Order, they will need to file the attached form.
For a Respondent (the Restrained Party) the rules are VERY DIFFERENT!
Trying to lift or modify a Restraining Order is a very serious matter that you should consult with an experienced lawyer right away.