Colorado Civil Assist – Civil Standbys in Domestic Violence Cases
Colorado Criminal Law: Understanding a Civil Assist or Civil Standby In the Colorado Domestic Violence Case
By H. Michael Steinberg – Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime that is labeled domestic violence – the Judge will enter an order you to vacate the home where you lived with the alleged victim. In addition, the Judge will enter an order of no contact preventing you from contacting the person you are alleged to have somehow injured in the act of domestic violence.
As a result – you will need the assistance of local enforcement to aid you in retrieving some of your most critical possessions. This request for assistance is called a “civil assist” or “civil standby.”
A civil standby is a situation wherein an officer is present at the request of a party to a civil dispute in order to prevent violence. A civil assist is one in which officer merely monitors a scene to ensure the peace is kept, the officer’s function in this situation being to stand by in the event trouble ensues withe alleged victim – friends of the victim or family members.
An Example of a Civil Standby Procedure – This One is by the Mesa County Sheriff.
A Civil Standby is available to the public for an intermittent protective situation. Utilizing the assistance of a third party to retrieve your possessions is recommended if at all possible. If you need a deputy to accompany you to an address within Mesa County and outside of Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade city limits, you will need to request a civil standby.
A civil standby can be requested at the front counter of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office at any time. The best time to request a civil standby is usually between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 Noon. You must make the request in person at the time you want to go. The sergeant on duty will talk to you about your situation. If you meet the criteria for a civil standby, and there are available deputies, a deputy will be assigned to accompany you.
THE RESPONDING DEPUTY IS THERE ONLY TO KEEP THE PEACE WHILE YOU RETRIEVE BASIC PERSONAL ITEMS. NO PROPERTY WILL BE TAKEN THAT IS IN DISPUTE WITHOUT A VALID COURT ORDER. ANY CRIMINAL ACTS COMMITTED DURING A CIVIL STANDBY MAY BE ACTED UPON BY THE WITNESSING DEPUTY.
The following criteria must be met before assistance of a civil standby will be approved:
The address for which you are requesting a civil standby, must lie within the unincorporated areas of Mesa County. If you live within the city limits of Grand Junction, Fruita, Palisade, or any other city jurisdiction, you must contact the law enforcement agency of that jurisdiction for this service.
Civil Standby requests may be approved even though a protection order is active on either party. A deputy will accompany you to retrieve your personal affects. Should either party have an active protection order, that situation will necessitate a deputy to be present.
The completion of a civil standby is limited to 10 minutes. The Sheriff’s Department allows minimal time to retrieve only necessary personal items. We will not stand by while you retrieve your possessions.