Mandatory Arrest: Understand CO Domestic Violence Law

Domestic violence is a complicated issue, made even more complicated by arrest statutes on the books that are meant to protect victims from experiencing more violence.

In Colorado, when a law enforcement officer responds to a domestic violence call, they use their training to assess the situation at hand. If they feel that probable cause exists for the occurrence of domestic violence, then one of the involved parties must be arrested according to the law. This is meant to keep potentially explosive situations from getting worse, but the problem is that arrests aren’t always necessary.

Colorado’s mandatory arrest policy is meant to disrupt harmful situations, but it also creates a situation where one party is now involved in the criminal justice system.

Domestic Violence in Colorado

What is domestic violence in Colorado? Under the law in the state, it is defined as a threat of an act of violence against someone with whom the defendant has had or currently has an intimate relationship. The threats or acts can be against a person or their property, but they are typically used as a way to control, punish, coerce, intimidate, or exact revenge against an intimate partner.

In general, these acts fall into one of three categories. They are:


This type of act includes name-calling, unwanted communications, and threats.


This type of act involves what people typically think of when they hear the term “domestic violence,” such as choking, hitting, shoving, or any other type of physical act against an intimate partner.


Forcing someone to participate in sex acts against their will can be a sex crime as well as a crime of domestic violence.

Mandatory Arrest in Colorado

If someone contacts law enforcement in Colorado to investigate a complaint of a domestic dispute, then an intimate relationship between the people involved can change the entire interaction.

When an officer has probable cause to believe that a crime involving domestic violence has been committed, they must arrest the person whom they suspect of the offense.

A person arrested on suspicion of domestic violence will be taken to jail and cannot post bond until they go before a judge. So, that may sometimes be only one day or it could be several days, depending on when the arrest was made. This is why it’s crucial to contact an attorney if you are arrested for domestic violence.

What If You’re Convicted of Domestic Violence?

If you are convicted of domestic violence in Colorado, then it can have a significant impact on your life. That’s because the underlying charge of something such as assault or harassment is what will directly inform your sentence, but a domestic violence enhancement can require you to follow additional directions of the court.

You will be required to complete a domestic violence treatment program that complies with certain standards set by the court. You will have an evaluation that will determine if you need treatment, and you will be responsible for all the costs associated with the treatment.

What If You’re Convicted of Domestic Violence?

Additionally, other outcomes can arise from the mandatory arrest policy of the state, some even before conviction for the crime. These include:

Restraining Orders

Sometimes the court will issue a restraining order to keep victims and offenders separate. This can impact where you live and even if you can see your own children.

Home Detention

If you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, the court cannot order home detention for you – you simply won’t qualify.


If you are convicted of domestic violence, then you will be required to give up all your firearms and ammunition before you are convicted. It is often a condition of posting a bond to get out of jail. You have to turn them over to local law enforcement to have them stored, or you can sell them to a valid buyer or licensed firearm dealer.

Limited Plea Deals

Typically, anyone charged with domestic violence will not be allowed to enter into a plea deal that doesn’t include some type of domestic violence charge.

Evidence in Court

If you have any prior domestic violence convictions, they will be admissible in court for any new charges against you.

Habitual Domestic Offender

The court has the power to label you as a habitual domestic offender and in doing so will make your penalty much harsher, elevating it to a Class 5 felony.

Colorado SPrings Domestic Vilence Defense Lawyer

Talk to a Lawyer

If you are arrested under suspicion of domestic violence, you need an experienced attorney on your side. They can help to advise you of your rights in the situation and help you to understand the case against you.


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.