Mandatory Protection Order (Restraining Order)

Criminal

A Mandatory Protection Order happens in a criminal case and is also sometimes called a restraining order or “MPO.”

When a defendant (offender) has been charged with a crime, the court will enter a MPO to help protect the victim. A MPO says that the defendant cannot “harass, molest, intimidate, retaliate against, or tamper with any witness to or victim of the crime charged.” The prosecutor can ask the judge to include a no-contact order to protect the victim and potentially their family members if appropriate. Sometimes, the victim will need to ask the prosecutor about adding family members if they are not included in the no-contact order. A no-contact order says the offender cannot contact the victim, directly or indirectly.

The MPO is entered against the offender. This means that the offender has to follow the court’s order. The victim is sometimes called the “protected party.”

The victim does not have to ask for a MPO. Even if a victim does not want a MPO, the court still enters one. 

Note: A MPO is different from a civil protection order (CPO). A CPO is issued through the civil court. A victim has to ask for a CPO. The victim can ask for a CPO even when there is a MPO.  Click here for more information on CPOs.

If an offender contacts a victim, this is called Violation of a Protection Order. Violation of a Protection Order is a crime. If an offender violates the protection order, you can call the police.

A MPO only lasts until the criminal case ends. A criminal case can end when:

  • The case is dismissed (at any stage)
  • The offender finishes their sentence (for example, gets out of prison or finishes probation)

A MPO is only one part of a safety plan. Having a protection order does not mean a victim will be safe because an abuser may not obey the order. A victim may have additional safety needs. Click here for more information on safety planning.

Federal and Colorado State Law say that if a Domestic Violence-related MPO has been entered against a person, they must give up their firearms and ammunition.

Violation of a Protection Order

Here are some examples of a Violation of a Protection Order. When the offender:

  • Attempts to contact the victim through social media accounts (for example, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Attempts to contact the victim through phone, text message, and/or email
  • Leaves messages for the victim at their offices, cars, and/or friends' homes
  • Attempts to contact the victims' friends or family and asks them to say certain things to the victim. This even includes when the offender is saying sorry or asking for forgiveness
  • Asks another person to contact the victim on the offender’s behalf
  • Asks another person to harass the victim on the offender’s behalf

Any violation of an MPO or civil protection order is a crime. If there has been a Violation of a Protection Order, you can call the police.

To see Colorado statutes on Violation of a Protection Order, 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).