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Restraining Orders – Some Basic Information

When a restraining order (known in Colorado as a “Civil Protection Order”) is needed, someone has experienced something frightening or threatening and they need the extra power of law enforcement behind their wish to have the other person “stay away from me”. At The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates, PC, we handle restraining orders relating to a divorce or custody dispute. This article addresses situations where someone wants a restraining order against their partner/spouse/parent of their Children. Such restraining orders involve allegations of domestic violence.  Domestic violence is usually physical abuse but can also be committed through harassment and threats. No matter the facts behind the allegations, the same things need to be alleged and/or proven.  Those three things are:

  • The act occurred (for which the restraining order is sought);
  • The person accused is the one who committed the act;
  • If a restraining order is not issued, the act is likely to occur again.

To start the process, a “temporary” restraining order must be obtained. The paperwork must alleged that there is imminent danger to life or health by a named person. This means that unless there is a physical abuse component to the injuries, a Court is not as likely to issue the temporary restraining order. Harassment consisting of numerous text messages is usually not enough to get a temporary restraining order. However, a threatening tone to the messages may help convince the Court of the imminent threat.  Without a threat of bodily harm, the harassed person likely only has a criminal case against the sender and should contact the police—not the civil protection order Court.

After the temporary restraining order is granted, the case will be set for a Hearing to determine if a Permanent Civil Protection Order should be granted. This is a mini-trial to a Magistrate and will include proof of everything that has been alleged. When applying for the restraining order, the applicant must include ALL facts and incidents—including prior events–about which the Court should know.  If something is not included on the paperwork, the victim  will likely be limited in what they can say in Court.  The narrative should include what happened, dates, prior events, descriptions of injuries, whether children were present and a victim’s fears for recurrence if the temporary restraining order is not granted. Explain the fear that accompanied the event and the fear of recurrence.  

Evidence at the permanent restraining order Hearing may include records of physical injuries with bruises, cuts, broken bones or worse.  Someone may have been frightened by their partner punching holes in the wall (photos), screaming at them in anger (recordings), breaking and smashing household items in a rage (photos and a witness to the rage), grabbing car keys and then blocking the way out of the house preventing them from leaving. Maybe the evidence includes being stalked or harassed by thousands of texts and calls. All of these scenarios are common fact patterns for a restraining order.   Each fact pattern requires proof—evidence of what is alleged.  So, if harassment is alleged, the texts, call logs, recordings, letters, e-mails, list of times the offender’s car drove by the house, etc. must be produced.  If physical injury has occurred, photos that show the injury and medical records (if medical care was sought) are excellent evidence. Getting the photos admitted as evidence is not difficult.  The victim should take the photo or have the person who took the photo testify in Court that they took the photo. Getting medical records into evidence is trickier.  It may require a subpoena to a medical facility and the records custodian certifying or testifying as to the authenticity of the records.

If you are looking for a strong, helpful, trustworthy Colorado Springs Restraining Order Attorney for your divorce, call Jeanne M. Wilson today!