Civil Protection Orders

Civil

A protection order is also sometimes called a “restraining order”.

People who are afraid for their safety can ask the court for a civil protection order (CPO). They may have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, trafficking, elder abuse/exploitation, or other types of crime. For example, a victim who was abused by their partner might ask the court for a CPO. When the court “enters” the CPO, this means that an order is entered against the partner. The order tells the partner not to do certain things, such as not going to the victim’s home.  

The victim who asks for a protection order is called the Petitioner or Protected Party. The person who the order is against is called the Respondent or Restrained Party.

temporary protection order (TPO) can be filed when a person fears that she or he is in imminent (immediate) danger. If the court grants the order, a TPO lasts for two weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks, there is a hearing to decide if the order will be made permanent, continued for up to a year if both the Petitioner and Respondent agree, or be dismissed. 

A TPO goes into effect once it has been “served” on the Respondent. “Serve” means that an adult who is not part of the case, usually a Sheriff’s deputy, gives a copy of the TPO paperwork to the Respondent in person. Service is important because it lets the other party in the case know that a case has been filed against them.

In order to grant a permanent protection order (PPO) a court has to find:

  • That the Respondent did the things that led to the TPO being granted; and
  • The Respondent will keep doing those things if there is no PPO, or that the Respondent will intimidate or try to get back at the Petitioner if there is no PPO.

A protected party can ask the court for specific conditions with a CPO, including:

  • Care and control of children for up to one year.
  • Care and control of pets.
  • Temporary payment of rent and/or bills.
  • Forcing the restrained party to leave a shared home

According to U.S. and Colorado law, Respondents are required to give up any firearms and ammunition if a protection order related to Domestic Violence is entered against them.

CPOs are different from mandatory protection orders (MPO). Here are some differences:

 Civil protection orders (CPO) Mandatory protection orders (MPO) 
Which legal system?Part of the civil legal system.Part of the criminal justice system.
Who asks for a protection order?A victim has to ask a civil court for a CPO. A victim can ask for a CPO even if there is not a criminal case, or even when there is an MPO.When a Defendant is charged with a crime, the court enters a MPO to help protect the victim of that crime. The victim does not ask for a MPO. Even if a victim does not want a MPO, the court may still enter one.
How long does the protection order last?In Colorado, a CPO can be made permanent. This means the order lasts forever unless one of the parties goes to court to change it. The MPO ends whenever the criminal case ends. Criminal cases can end at different times for different reasons. It’s important to ask victim advocates about the status of the case and MPO.

To learn more about a mandatory protection order, click here.

Violation of any protection order is a crime and can be reported to the police. A protection order is only one part of a safety plan. Click here for more information on safety planning.

Find legal representation in your area.
List of courts by county.

If you or someone you know needs help on this topic, click here for some Denver-based and national organizations that may help you.

To see Colorado statutes on civil protection orders, click here.

Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO)

An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is when the court makes a person (called the “respondent”) give up any firearms they have. The respondent is also not allowed to buy any firearms.

An ERPO can be requested by:

  1. Police or sheriffs.
  2. Family members of the respondent, including blood relatives and people related by marriage.
  3. Someone who has lived with the respondent in the past 6 months.

The person who asks for the ERPO is called the “petitioner”. The petitioner must swear to tell the truth in a report to the Court (called an “affidavit”). The report must explain why the petitioner thinks the respondent might cause significant harm in the near future to themselves or someone else by having a firearm.

If the Judge agrees, the Judge will first order the respondent to give up their firearms two weeks. During these two weeks, the respondent can tell the Judge why it isn’t a risk for them to have firearms. Then, the petitioner can tell more about why the respondent having firearms is a risk.

If the Judge believes that the respondent having firearms continues to be a risk, the Judge can make the ERPO last for up to one year. The petitioner can ask the court to make the ERPO last longer.

For more information, access the Colorado Courts’ self-help website or consult with a law enforcement agency, a victim advocate, or an attorney. The statute for ERPO is:  C.R.S. § 13-14.5-103(5)(a).