The consequences of a protection order violation conviction in Colorado is very serious. It's important to know your rights and have a protection order violation attorney on your side of the law to protect your freedom and reputation.
In criminal cases, the court will often impose a protection order that prohibits the defendant from “harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with” anyone who is a victim or witness to the crime that has been charged. The judge will issue this order against the defendant at the first court appearance. The order will then remain in effect until the case is closed. In the event that the case results in a sentence to probation, the mandatory protection order will stay in effect all the way until the end of probation.
Protection orders can also include a provision that prohibits any contact with, or even proximity to, the alleged victim in the case. This is commonly added to the protection order in domestic violence cases. This “no contact” provision is something that the judge is unlikely to remove initially, but may remove once the judge believes that there has been an adequate “cool down” period between the defendant and the victim. The protection order may also prohibit the possession of weapons by the defendant, especially in domestic violence cases.
Specific items that the judge can include in protection orders are:
- making the defendant vacate the home of the victim
- prohibiting any contact with the victim
- prohibiting possession of firearms
- Prohibiting possession or consumption of alcohol
- or any other order that the judge deems appropriate to protect the victim or witness.
If ordered to relinquish firearms and ammunition, the defendant must do so within 24 hours of the order. The judge can extend this to 72 hours for firearms, and 5 days for ammunition, if the defendant or his attorney persuades the judge that compliance within 24 hours is impossible. The defendant is allowed to sell the firearm to a federally licensed firearms dealer, or have the firearm stored by a law enforcement agency. The defendant may also transfer the firearm to a private party provided that they comply with the law as to such private party transfers (see Colorado statute 18-12-112). If the defendant is placed in jail before he or she can comply with this order, the defendant must comply within 24 hours of their release from jail.
Violation of Protection Order
Violation of a criminal protection order is a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in jail. It is not a defense to this charge that the person protected by the order, the victim, contacted you. If you are barred from having contact with someone by such an order, you are in violation of the order even when they contact you! For this reason, if the protected person contacts you, you must hang up the phone, or walk away, immediately. Likewise, it is not a defense to this charge that the victim gave you permission to contact them.