The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law.
One of the most confusing things about the legal system is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases. In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal cases occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act.
In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the Court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the Court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the protection order, they may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser. The protection orders we talk about in detail are part of the civil law system.
Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to protection orders granted in the Civil Division of County Court
- §13-14-101 Definitions
- §13-14-100.2 Civil Protection Orders
- §18-6-803.5 Crime of Violation of Protection Order
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, theft, etc. A criminal complaint involves the abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the prosecutor is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not.
Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes is the Criminal Code that defines offenses against persons and property, offenses involving family relations to include domestic violence, offenses against public peace, order and decency, and offenses relating to firearms and weapons, to name a few.
§18-1-1001 Protection Order against Defendant explains protection orders in criminal cases.
Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to Abuse of Elderly or At Risk Adult