Protection orders, restraining orders, however they are called or referred toa re serious matters, especially to those needing them and those they have been served against. Anyone who has dealt with them can surely concur that they usually involve messy, high conflict situations with a lot of emotion involved. They can be issued out of either criminal cases or imposed through the civil process and both can ultimately end up in criminal charges as a result of a violation.
An interesting question was brought up recently involving a protection order issued in California as a result of a domestic violence case and the enforceability of such order. A rather experienced attorney did not believe that the order was enforceable by a Colorado law enforcement officer. I, as a former Deputy District Attorney tended to disagree, but could not honestly refer to the exact statute, so I felt compelled to research it further.
What I found is that enforcement of the order by law enforcement is written specifically into 13-14-110 (4) which states filing of the foreign protection order in the central registry or otherwise domesticating or registering the order pursuant to article 53 of this title or section 14-11-101, C.R.S., is not a prerequisite to enforcement of the foreign protection order. A peace officer shall presume the validity of, and enforce in accordance with the provisions of this article, a foreign protection order that appears to be an authentic court order that has been provided to the peace officer by any source. If the protected party does not have a copy of the foreign protection order on his or her person and the peace officer determines that a protection order exists through the central registry, the national crime information center as described in 28 U.S.C. sec. 534, or through communication with appropriate authorities, the peace officer shall enforce the order. A peace officer may rely upon the statement of any person protected by a foreign protection order that it remains in effect. A peace officer who is acting in good faith when enforcing a foreign protection order is not civilly liable or criminally liable pursuant to section 18-6-803.5 (5), C.R.S.
So yes, a protection order issued in another state is enforceable in Colorado, but to go back to the thoughts of the experienced attorney that thought otherwise, how many people actually know the statute? If a rather experienced attorney was not aware of the statute, does local law enforcement? Having a court certified copy of the protection order would probably be a good idea, but a better idea would be to have protection order domesticated, or otherwise registered in the local area where you reside. It’s safe to say that local officers are going to be more familiar local orders and it will make it easier to get the protection that a protection order is there to provide.
As always, it is definitely best to consult an attorney about matters such as these, but being armed with a little statutory knowledge doesn’t hurt.