WHEN CAN YOU BE CHARGED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Colorado domestic violence laws state that crimes designated as domestic violence are not just limited to crimes in which you are accused of acting in a violent manner towards someone with whom you share an intimate relationship. It can also include any crime which you have been accused of committing while coercing, punishing, controlling, or intimidating an intimate partner.
For example, if your partner has accused you of damaging their belongings or threatening them over the phone, you could end up being charged with domestic violence!
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE CHARGED?
Denver has mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence cases. For many crimes, law enforcement officials in Colorado can decide whether to charge or arrest someone. This discretion does not apply to domestic violence crimes!
If a peace officer believes that you have committed an act of domestic violence, then they are legally required to arrest you there and then!
Furthermore, under the Colorado Constitution, domestic violence is considered a victim’s rights crime. This has several important implications, including that someone charged with domestic violence cannot be given bond until the victim has been informed of the bond hearing and afford an opportunity to be heard.
If you are charged with domestic violence, then you will be locked in jail until the bond hearing!
Finally, bear in mind that charges of domestic violence can not be dropped by the victim. Even if the person reporting a case of domestic violence later decides that they no longer want to pursue it, only the district attorney prosecuting the case can decide whether to drop the charges or not.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY?
Offenses involving an allegation of domestic violence have very serious consequences.
If you are convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, then you may face several possible penalties:
Mandatory domestic violence classes or treatment.
Fines, court costs, and/or supervision fees.
A lifetime firearm possession ban.
Furthermore, if you have been convicted of domestic violence on three previous occasions, then you may be considered a habitual offender. Unsurprisingly, this has severe consequences. If an act of domestic violence would normally be treated as a misdemeanor, in the case of a habitual offender it can be escalated to a class five felony offense!
Finally, as with most crimes, a domestic violence conviction will remain on your record for the rest of your life. This can have a devastating effect on future career opportunities, damage your reputation, and sabotage your personal relationships.
SHOULD YOU SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE?
Absolutely! Many people don’t realize how serious domestic violence is. They often assume that it only extends to physical assault, or believe that an upset partner can drop the charges after calming down. Learning the hard way can be a stressful and costly experience.
Very little evidence is needed to charge someone with domestic violence!
Just the statements by your partner alone can lead to a domestic violence-related conviction.
This is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney, like Kevin Pauly, to protect your rights and aggressively defend you. For more than a decade, Kevin has exclusively defended those facing criminal charges in Colorado. He has completed over 60 jury trials and was named Attorney of the Year in 2007 for the Denver Trial Office of the Colorado State Public Defender.