There are many reasons someone can be charged with domestic violence in Colorado. You may be under the impression that a domestic charge will sort itself out if you know you’re in the right with the incident in question. However, it’s not a good idea to underestimate what can happen if you’re accused of domestic violence.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence, including what it is, what penalties you can face, and what you should do if you find yourself accused of this very serious crime in the state of Colorado.
How Colorado Police Handle Domestic Violence Calls
One of the reasons why domestic violence is such a serious situation legally is because of how police are directed to deal with it. If two people at a home get into an argument and police are called, then they must arrest someone if they have probable cause that an offense occurred.
Even if the victim says nothing happened, it’s up to the police to decide if there’s enough evidence at the scene to make an arrest. If there is, then prosecutors will issue charges regardless of what the victim wants, and it’s a difficult process to put a stop to once it is set in motion.
What Exactly Is Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Domestic violence is identified under the law as an action of violence or the threat of an action of violence against a person with whom the defendant has or has had an intimate relationship.
An intimate relationship is further defined by law as being a relationship between:
- Former spouses
- Current spouses
- Two people that share a child
The threats or acts of violence don’t have to occur between two people, either. In Colorado, domestic violence can be charged in regards to property or ordinances if the purpose was to punish, control, coerce, or intimidate.
The Penalties For Colorado Domestic Violence
It’s important to note that if domestic violence is involved in your case, you will be sentenced for underlying charges, such as assault, but also have additional penalties put in place because of the domestic violence factor involved.
In other words, you will have to serve a sentence for the crime as well as complete certain domestic violence treatment, such as a treatment evaluation and the completion of any treatment recommended as a result.
You may also be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition as a part of being found guilty. If you happen to have previously been convicted of domestic violence on at least two other occasions, a third conviction will make the charge a Class 5 felony.
What To Do If You’re Charged with Domestic Violence in Colorado
Anyone who is charged with domestic violence in Colorado needs to make sure they do a few things to give them the best chance in court. Specifically, you need to ensure that you:
Have No Contact with the Victim
This can be challenging for a variety of reasons, but many people think in cases of domestic violence that they simply need to work things out and all will be well.
Understand that regardless of how the victim feels about the situation, it is not up to them whether or not the case proceeds in court. Even if they want charges dropped, it’s ultimately up to the prosecutor to decide the case against you and take you to court for it.
Also, it’s important to realize that making contact with the victim is another crime if there’s a protection order in place. No matter how much you may miss them or have the desire to work things out, it’s best to stay away until things are resolved in court.
Don’t Carry Firearms
In Colorado, it is illegal for anyone charged with domestic violence to carry a firearm, even if that firearm was purchased legally and is properly registered. If any domestic violence charges have been filed against you, surrender your firearms or you could get into more trouble with the law.
Work with Your Attorney
It can be frustrating to feel like the wheels of justice are turning slowly, but that’s how things sometimes go. Let your attorney do their job and allow them to present the facts to give you the best chance to beat your charges.
Domestic violence is a serious charge, and it can be difficult to go through for everyone involved. Have patience and do what you can to follow the rules if you’ve been charged. You have the right to defend yourself.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.