Colorado has strict laws regarding domestic violence and related crimes. But in all criminal cases—barring traffic cases—a court is required to enter a “Mandatory Protection Order” or “MPO.” These orders protect any witnesses or alleged victims of the crime while the case is pending and until conclusion of any resulting sentence. Since violations of Colorado Front Range mandatory protection orders (MPOs) can have severe consequences, getting legal advice from a skilled defense attorney in this situation is highly advisable.
When cases involve domestic violence, the alleged victims cannot force prosecutors to drop criminal charges or even modify the terms of mandatory protection orders. Prosecutors also may not dismiss or reduce domestic violence charges to any offense that does not involve domestic violence as the basis for the charge without telling the court they can’t prove the DV component of the case. Since the repercussions of domestic violence charges and MPOs can be significant, you likely need to consult Justie and Jenn at Nicol Gersch Law as quickly as possible.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-01-1001, the court will issue an MPO against any persons charged with a violation of the criminal code, including domestic violence. The order remains in effect from the time that the persons first appear in court for arraignment until the criminal proceedings are resolved, whether through plea agreement, acquittal, conviction, or dismissal. Protection orders that are mandatory in Colorado Front Range restrain individuals from harassing, intimidating, or retaliating in any way against witnesses or alleged victims of the crimes charged.
Furthermore, in crimes involving domestic violence and selected other crimes, the court may enter any of the following orders as part of an MPO:
The court also can include any other provision in MPOs that it finds appropriate to protect the safety of others. MPOs are distinguishable from civil protection orders, but individuals accused of domestic violence can be subject to both these orders and forced to comply with the most restrictive. Civil protection orders can last well beyond the end of the criminal proceedings and truly can be permanent, when an MPO will drop off once the case is concluded.
MPOs are enforceable through criminal contempt proceedings brought by the prosecuting attorney. However, individuals who violate any term of a mandatory protection order also commit a separate criminal offense called a “VPO” or “Violation of Protection Order.” Compliance with a mandatory protection order typically is a condition of the bond, so individuals will face bond revocation and return to jail if they violate the order or may even face further charges for “VBBC” or “Violation of Bail Bond Conditions.” In that case, to be released from jail, the accused persons would have to post bond both on the new charge(s) of violation of a protection order or violation of bail bonds, as well as post a new bond in the original criminal case. Basically, if you get rearrested for not following bond or MPO conditions, your original bond is forfeit and you start from scratch.
Under C.R.S. § 18-6-803.5, violation of a protection order issued under § 18-01-1001 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor offense can result in up to 18 months in county jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. Individuals convicted of this offense must serve any sentence consecutively to any sentence that they receive for the crime that resulted in the protection order. By way of contrast, violating a civil restraining order is only a class 2 misdemeanor and does not need to have consecutive sentencing upon conviction.
A second or subsequent violation of a protection order constitutes an extraordinary risk crime. A conviction for this type of crime results in an added six months of jail time to the regular sentence for the crime. As a result, individuals could serve up to two years in jail for second or subsequent violations of MPOs.
When your criminal charges necessitate MPOs, you must take care to avoid unwanted consequences such as finding yourself homeless, without access to your personal items, and without being able to speak to your partner or spouse. Violating an MPO can result in additional jail time, fines, and other penalties that are in addition to any sentence that you receive for the original crime. Colorado Front Range mandatory protection orders are extremely serious orders that you must follow or risk very negative ramifications.
Getting legal advice from a criminal defense attorney from the outset of your case can be crucial to a favorable outcome of the charges. By understanding the full range of potential consequences that you are facing, you may be able to achieve a better resolution in your case. For that matter, if you feel the MPO is overly restrictive, you should contact an attorney for help modifying the MPO’s terms and conditions as soon as possible. Don’t wait to resolve your case—you can ask to revise the MPO early and often throughout the life of the case. And don’t just plead guilty to the offense to have the MPO lifted! Call Jenn and Justie at Nicol Gersch Law today to discuss your options.