Colorado Restraining Orders
By Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg
If I think that a restraining order is invalid, based on false information, or improperly served, can I ignore it?
No. Even if it does turn out that the court was wrong in issuing the restraining order, it is still a court order that must be obeyed. You can incur criminal penalties if you willfully or intentionally disobey a court order as well as the new criminal charge of Violation of a Restraining Order (VRO).
Here is the Colorado Crime of Violation of a Restraining Order
(1) A person commits the crime of violation of a restraining order if such person contacts, harasses, injures, intimidates, molests, threatens, or touches any protected person or enters or remains on premises or comes within a specified distance of a protected person or premises, and such conduct is prohibited by a restraining order, after such person has been personally served with any such order or otherwise has acquired from the court actual knowledge of the contents of any such order.
(2) Violation of a restraining order is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, except that, if the restrained person has previously been convicted of violating this section or a former version of this section or an analogous municipal ordinance, or if the restraining order is issued pursuant to CRS 18-1-1001 (defendant in criminal case not harassing a victim or witness), the violation is a Class 1 Misdemeanor
If the victim tries to contact me while the restraining order is in effect, can I be charged in violation of the order?
Yes. You are bound to follow the court order no matter what. The restraining order is intended to limit your actions, not the victim’s.
Can the victim and I agree to ignore the restraining order?
No. A victim who wishes to remove the restraining order in a pending case must explain to the judge the reasons why it is unnecessary. A restraining order may only be lifted by a judge and not by the parties to the restraining order.
If I own guns, what am I required to do with them when a restraining order is issued?
A restraining order will typically prohibit you from owning or possessing any firearms while the order is in effect. If you own a gun, the judge may order you to turn it over to the police or sell it to a gun dealer.
Will a restraining order appear on my criminal record?
It depends on how thorough the background check is. Restraining orders are public record, so they are documented and accessible by the public. However, they are not criminal convictions, so an employer who checks only for convictions will probably not find out about the criminal restraining order. If the restraining order was issued as a result of a family law dispute, then a records check will likely reveal nothing because employers usually do not search family law or civil records. Still, it’s possible that the employer may find out about the restraining orders as there is no law that prevents them from accessing these records.
Restraining orders can greatly limit your legal rights, so if you are facing a restraining order, you will need an experienced Colorado Criminal restraining order lawyer to help you.