An Order of Protection (also commonly known as a Restraining Order) is a court order intended to prevent a person (the defendant) who has been committing acts of violence or threatening another person or persons from committing further acts of assault or threatening behavior. It legally restricts the defendant from any contact with the victim (plaintiff), including physical contact (within a specified distance) from where the plaintiff lives, works, goes to school, or spends time. In addition, the defendant is restricted from contacting the plaintiff over the phone, letter, email, through a third party, etc. The unfortunate reality is that an Order of Protection is only a piece of paper and cannot provide any guarantee that the defendant will not violate the order. If the defendant does violate the order, that person has committed a crime and may receive criminal charges. The police should be called immediately to report this violation.
There are two types of Order of Protections (OOP): Criminal and Civil.
- A Criminal Order of Protection is issued as part of criminal charges as requested by law enforcement. See law enforcement about this order if there have been criminal charges filed.
- A Civil Order of Protection can be sought by a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking. As a plaintiff, the victim does not need to have an attorney present to request a Civil Order of Protection from the court, but may they so choose. The advocates at the WGAC are also willing to go with members of the CSU community to help in obtaining these orders.
Civil Order of Protection
A Civil Order of Protection is a document issued by the court which mandates a perpetrator (defendant) to not have contact with the victim (plaintiff). This order can be granted if the court finds that…. due to an act or a threatened act of violence against another with whom there is or has been an intimate relationship, and there is a danger of imminent injury to life or health of one or more persons.
Temporary Order of Protection
A Temporary Order of Protection is the first part of the process.
- The plaintiff will need to go to the County Clerk’s Office at the Larimer County Courthouse (201 LaPorte Ave in Fort Collins) to pick up a packet of forms to fill out. Or you can download the forms from the Larimer County Website. The advocates at the WGAC can help fill out the paperwork and answers any questions you may have. If the plaintiff and defendant are current divorced or requesting the temporary order of protection as part of a divorce, the paperwork would need to be filed at District Court.
- The plaintiff will want to include copies of any evidence of the allegations, including photographs of injuries, letters or messages (including texts and screen shots from social media) from the defendant, police reports, or anything else.
- It is ideal if the plaintiff can get to the court in the morning, fill out the paper work, and then try to schedule an appointment to see the judge that afternoon.
- It can also be helpful if the plaintiff has a supportive person or two (friend, advocate, family member) with them when they go before the judge.
- The temporary order of protection will need to be served on the defendant. A Proof of Service needs to be in the court filed by the time of the order of protection hearing.
- The order should be entered into the Colorado Bureau of Investigations computer database soon after the order is issued. Check with police in a few days to ensure that the order has been entered (CSU Police can look into it for the plaintiff).
Permanent Order of Protection
- The temporary order of protection is good for no more than two weeks until the Permanent Order of Protection Permanent Order of Protection hearing.
- In order to acquire the Permanent Order of Protection, the plaintiff needs to attend the hearing. The defendant does not need to attend, but usually will. The plaintiff should plan on the defendant attending.
- If the defendant wishes to contest the order, that person will need to attend.
- If the defendant is not contesting the order, and the judge has sufficient evidence, it should be issued at that time.
- If the plaintiff wishes to modify or change the order, they will need to go back to court and request the changes.
CIVIL ORDER OF PROTECTION Q&A
|Who may obtain the Order?||Someone who has been threatened with violence or if violence has been acted upon them by someone they have been an intimate relationship with. The court needs to see that there is a danger of imminent injury to the life or health of one or more persons.
|How is the Order obtained?||Victim files a petition at the Larimer County Courthouse at the County Clerk’s office by obtaining a Temporary Order of Protection packet, filing out all paperwork, and going before a judge to request the order.|
|What does the Order provide?||No contact with the plaintiff directly or indirectly anywhere by phone, in writing, in person, or by email.
|How is the Order served?||By a police officer or process server. The plaintiff can take the order to the Sheriff’s Department and request that they serve it on the defendant.|
|Cost of the Order||$31 to Larimer County,
$13 to the Sheriff to serve the Order of Protection (Orders being served outside of Larimer County may have different fees to serve the order.)
Note: There is a Cost Waiver form that can be completed if the costs are problematic. After the judge signs this form, it can be taken to the Sheriff’s Dept so they will not charge to serve the order.
|Duration of the Order||Temporary: Approximately two weeks, can be extended for 6 months by a judge.
Permanent: As per decision of the judge. Can be modified at a later date if changes need to be made.
|Who represents the victim?||The victim (plaintiff) can represent themselves. There is an option to hire legal counsel if desired. The advocates at the WGAC are able to assist with support (not legal representation).|
|If the Order is violated?||The plaintiff needs to call the police as soon as possible. The police should investigate the violation and issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
|How do police know that order exists?||The plaintiff needs to keep a copy of the order on their person at all times. This should be shown to an officer if the defendant violates the order. The order should also be registered on Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s computer database. It is also a good idea to file a copy of the order on campus with CSU Police.|