The basics of domestic violence in Colorado.
Law enforcement agencies are always quick to act against cases where they suspect domestic violence. Colorado does not have a specific law on the books that covers domestic violence, but those types of crimes are covered under statutes that are defined as physical assaults on another person.
While there is no specific crime of domestic violence, the term is defined by statue. If a crime of violence, property damage or harassment meets the definition of domestic violence then the Court is required by law to impose special treatment conditions as part of any sentence. Domestic violence is defined as the act or threatened act of violence against a person that the defendant has an intimate relationship with. This can be a current or former spouse, domestic partner, or co-habitant (such as a roommate). The purpose of the act is to coerce, control, intimidate, punish or seek revenge against that person.
Because many domestic abusers oftentimes take advantage of their victims, and because the likelihood of multiple instances of domestic abuse may occur over time, prosecutors will often seek harsher penalties than for those that are considered other types of assault-type crimes where two strangers may be involved.
You can be charged with different types of domestic violence
At Decker & Jones, we understand that sometimes arguments can quickly spiral out of control, but once police are involved, many of the avenues that partners have are no longer viable. The state takes over and charges cannot be dropped.
Domestic violence can take place in many different ways. Specific instances of domestic violence will be charged differently based on several factors. These may include the severity of a victim’s injuries, if a minor was present, and whether or not a restraining order was violated.
These factors are then combined with the different forms of domestic violence to allow prosecutors to file specific charges against a defendant. Domestic violence can take many forms, including:
Penalties and Sentencing
Depending on the factors and the types of domestic violence in a particular case, you could face many different possible types of punishment if you are convicted.
If a person is not sentenced to jail or prison time, they may be ordered to complete a domestic violence treatment program. This will address anger and relationship issues and help the person to break the cycle of domestic violence they have been involved in. In some cases, the courts may only order that an evaluation be completed before deciding on how to proceed.
Some courts may sentence a person to house arrest with an electronic monitoring device. However, this option is not available if the home is the same as the victim’s house.
Probation may also be considered, but the court will first consider all aspects of the victim’s safety as well as the possibility that the abuser may commit more acts of domestic violence if they are not given actual jail or prison time.
Those who are convicted of domestic violence may receive jail or prison time, especially when aggravating factors are present. For example, if a person has previously been arrested and convicted of domestic violence, they are more likely to serve time behind bars. If they have been arrested and convicted three or more times, they can be charged as a “habitual domestic violence offender” and can be charged with a felony that may result in a prison sentence of up to six years.
When a person commits an act of domestic violence and it is charged as a misdemeanor, they will not be able to buy or possess any guns or ammunition. The same holds true if that person is also restrained by a protection order. If a person already owns a gun, then they can arrange to have the gun stored by a law enforcement agency, or they can give the gun to another person for safekeeping.
How protection orders impact domestic violence situations
Protection orders are legal documents that require one person to stay away from another person, their children and sometimes other family members, depending on the circumstances of a particular situation. They are usually issued when there is an immediate perceived threat of danger and help potential victims gain relief from a potentially escalating domestic violence situation. In addition to defining what people the subject of a protective order must stay away from, the order will also restrict visiting places that the person frequents, such as a workplace, school, shopping centers or restaurants, among other types of locations.
If an abuser violates the protective order, they can be arrested and could be found guilty of violating the order, resulting in possible fines and jail time.
Contact Decker & Jones if you have been charged with domestic violence
We understand that sometimes, personal situations can quickly spiral out of control and lead to regrettable and unfortunate situations. However, once the police are involved, certain protocols kick in that must be followed, even if the situation is a relatively harmless one.
All domestic violence charges are serious and because of the nature of these accusations, your life will be impacted immediately. Although domestic violence may be charged as a misdemeanor, if aggravating circumstances are present, the charges can be elevated to a felony, resulting in serious fines and jail time upon conviction.
Recent changes in state laws also mean that domestic violence cases are now handled differently than before. The attorneys at Decker & Jones are knowledgeable about these changes and how they may be used to prepare a strong defense on your behalf.
We can explore a variety of defenses, including self-defense, that the alleged act of domestic violence was too trivial to be considered a crime, a lack of proof, or that a person has deliberately made false allegations in an attempt to smear someone’s reputation out of spite.
At Decker & Jones, we have nearly 30 years of combined legal experience and have provided people with compassionate and comprehensive legal services as they fight domestic violence charges. We will thoroughly evaluate your case and provide you with the best possible legal options for your situation.
Contact us today at our Golden or Denver offices at 303.279.1586 or by filling out our online contact form for a free consultation to see how we can put our skills and experience to work for you.