Criminal Law Matters

Domestic Violence

Colorado Domestic Violence Charges

In Colorado, charges of domestic violence are frequent, and even when they are made in the heat of the moment without any threats of violence, these claims cannot be refuted either on the spot or in court.

When domestic abuse is reported to the police in Colorado, the prosecutor and law enforcement are solely responsible for handling the case.

With years of expertise with domestic abuse cases, our empathetic lawyers are aware of the seriousness and emotional impact of domestic violence accusations.

Please call us right away if you or a loved one is dealing with a domestic violence allegation and related criminal charges in Colorado.

Criminal Law Matters

How is domestic violence defined in Colorado?

Domestic abuse is defined by the Colorado Revised Statute as “an act or threat of violence against a person with whom the actor is or has been in an intimate relationship.”

The definition of domestic violence in Colorado is very inclusive. For instance, intimate partners do not need to live together or be married in order to file a domestic abuse charge.

Spouses, ex-spouses, domestic partners, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, and roommates all qualify as domestic or intimate relationships.

Physical violence (such as shoving or punching), emotional and verbal abuse (such as yelling, intimidating, or sending harassing texts), and sexual assault (such as compelling someone to perform an unwanted sex act) all fall under the category of domestic violence.

Any other crime committed against a person or their property (such as a pet) and used to force, control, punish, frighten, or extract vengeance against a current or past intimate partner is also considered domestic violence.

If there is reasonable suspicion of domestic abuse in Colorado, must police make an arrest?
When law enforcement has reason to think that a crime involving domestic abuse occurred, Colorado has a policy requiring them to make an arrest.

Regrettably, the difficulty of establishing probable cause immediately leads law enforcement officials to initiate an arrest even when no crime has been committed. If there is probable cause to make an arrest for domestic violence in Colorado, police must assess five factors:






If law enforcement officials have even the slightest suspicion that any of these signs are present, they must make an arrest.

What must I do if I was detained for domestic abuse?
Invoke your right to silence first. Until you have a lawyer present, avoid making an admission of guilt or answering police questions.

Second, seek knowledgeable legal counsel as quickly as you can. Colorado fast-tracks domestic abuse cases, as mentioned below, which means you have a limited amount of time to enter a plea and gather evidence to support your case.

Never enter a plea or accept a settlement without an attorney present. Any other verdict than “not guilty” may result in fines and a permanent domestic violence charge on your record.

What if the accuser decides not to file a claim?
Even if the accuser decides not to file charges, once a person has been detained for domestic abuse in Colorado, there is no turning back.

Suspects are placed in custody and held there until a judge sets a bond amount. Charges of domestic violence cannot be dropped until the prosecution swears under oath to the court that they lack sufficient evidence to establish their case.

What exactly is a “sentence enhancer” and how does it apply to accusations of domestic violence?
Domestic abuse is frequently not prosecuted separately. Numerous additional felonies and misdemeanors, including but not restricted to:

False incarceration and assault
Restrictive covenant breach
Domestic abuse is frequently referred to in the legal world as a “sentence enhancer” or “aggravator.” In the event of a conviction, the addition of domestic violence to other criminal accusations may have an impact on the sentence and result in additional demands like required counseling.

What does Colorado’s “fast-track” process entail and how does it apply to domestic violence charges?
In order to protect victims and assist suspected offenders in receiving the care they require as soon as possible, Colorado created a fast-track mechanism for domestic violence cases.

Arresting police are required to submit an incident report the day after making a domestic violence arrest as part of this expedited procedure. At their initial court appearance, defendants in domestic violence charges are required to enter a plea. The fast-track process might be challenging and complicated if you don’t have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side.

What punishments and repercussions are conceivable if found guilty in a case of domestic violence?
Domestic abuse offenders will face the following penalties if proven guilty:

Counseling and treatment for domestic violence
a court-ordered protection order that prohibits communication with the accuser and any witnesses throughout the trial and, if found guilty, any penalty
Depending on the crime, the court’s jurisdiction, and other sentencing guidelines, the terms of probation will change.
In addition to other parts of your life, a domestic violence conviction can have an impact on your parenting rights, job prospects, and ability to get a loan.

Additionally, convictions for domestic abuse result in nationally required limitations on possessing firearms, working for the government, serving in the military, and citizenship.

More serious punishments result from more domestic violence charges. A habitual domestic violence offender in Colorado is someone who has three prior convictions for crimes involving domestic violence; this offense carries a class 5 felony sentence of one to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

How can a criminal defense attorney assist in cases of domestic violence?
You should speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence. Time is of the essence if you want to safeguard your rights and mount a powerful case.

Domestic abuse accusations carry serious repercussions, and Colorado’s fast-track system makes domestic violence cases move rapidly.

The skilled domestic abuse attorneys at Criminal Law Matters are committed to offering individualized legal counsel and advocating for the best outcome for people who have been charged with domestic violence.

Call right away if you’re accused of domestic violence in Colorado.

What may be done with regards to the restraining order?
According to Colorado law, a criminal protection order is required in a domestic violence case, just like an arrest. If you are found guilty of domestic violence charges, this kind of protection order may be in place during the period of your sentence as well as the duration of your case.

While the case is still open or while you’re serving a sentence, you can ask for the order to be changed. If you haven’t broken the protection order or been found guilty of any additional crimes, your request is more likely to be granted. Additionally, completing a domestic abuse treatment program can make the judge more sympathetic to your plea. The position of the DA and the claimed victim will also be crucial.  The alleged victim of the case can also request to have it modified or removed at any time.

When will I get to visit my kids?

The specifics of the protective order will determine the answer. Domestic abusers are typically barred from meeting or speaking with the alleged victim(s) and witnesses by domestic violence protection orders. Furthermore, protection orders frequently demand that you leave and refrain from visiting the claimed victim’s residence, which is frequently where your children reside. Protection orders frequently forbid the subject of the restraint from visiting their children.

You must not disobey your protection order if it bars you from seeing your kids. Contacting a domestic abuse attorney is the best course of action. They might be able to negotiate with the judge to change the order so you can see your kids in specific situations.

When may I return home?
A domestic violence protection order typically forbids you from going back to your house. To protect the claimed victim, this is done. The protection order forbids you from going back home while your case is ongoing and, depending on the result, potentially even after.

Colorado does make an exception, allowing you to return home briefly to gather your essential personal belongings. Civil standby or civil help is the technique, and it enables you to gather necessities while being escorted and watched over by a law enforcement officer. It is crucial to remember that you can only get uncontested property, and that law enforcement will usually give you between 15 and 30 minutes to do so.

How is a civil standby conducted?
In a protective circumstance, civil standby enables a law enforcement officer to follow a person as they collect critical personal belongings from their home. In Colorado, while a protective order is in effect, civil standby is necessary.

You will automatically have a protection order against you if you have been detained for domestic abuse. After being released from jail on bond, the order forbids you from returning to your house. In this case, the civil standby allowance enables you to return home to gather important personal belongings while being accompanied by a law enforcement officer. By contacting the police enforcement agency in your city or county, you can ask for civil standby.  The police officer won’t act as a mediator between you and your accuser. They’ll keep an eye on your medication and probably stop you from taking whatever the accuser forbids. Typically, a civil standby can only last for 15 to 30 minutes.

Why isn’t this case being dropped if my partner wants it to?
Domestic abuse accusations are taken very seriously by Colorado law. Even if your spouse changes their story or decides not to file charges, the DA decides whether to proceed with a trial, not them.

Law enforcement officials and prosecutors can also be wary of a partner who doesn’t want to file a complaint. They might think the accuser is being under duress to alter their version of events or that they want the accused to be able to go back home and support the family.

Will the DA actually proceed with a trial in a situation if my partner is unwilling to do so?
The decision to go to trial in a domestic violence case is made by the district attorney. Even if your partner decides not to file a complaint, the district attorney will do so if they think there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Only in some circumstances can a court throw out domestic violence accusations. In particular, the judge may dismiss the case if the district attorney swears that there isn’t enough evidence to establish guilt (beyond a reasonable doubt).




How Long Does a Domestic Violence Charge Stay on Your Record in Colorado?

In Colorado court, convictions for domestic abuse can be sealed after three years. The defendant must not be charged with any additional offenses during those three years for this to happen. These matters are frequently handled by a domestic violence lawyer. Domestic violence-related convictions obtained outside of municipal court will always be visible on the defendant’s record.


When Is Domestic Violence Escalated to a Felony?

Domestic violence is typically charged as a minor offense. Nevertheless, it becomes a felony charge if:

The victim suffered severe physical injuries.
The victim was subjected to a sexual assault.
A minor suffered sexual assault or physical harm.
There have been prior convictions for either domestic violence or other offenses.
Criminal charges result from domestic violence.


If Charged with Corporal Injury to a Spouse or a Cohabitant

Charges for corporal injury are brought when the wounds cause trauma. Traumatic illnesses develop wherever there is a wound or injury. Traumatic conditions can include even slight bruises. But emotional discomfort is not an admissible circumstance. Prosecutors must first establish your intent before they can proceed with a prosecution.


Penalties for Felony Domestic Violence

You might spend up to four years in Colorado state prison after being charged with this felony. Considering how severe the injuries were, this punishment might potentially be longer. You can also be required to attend a domestic abuse class that is mandated by the court.


Penalties for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

If you are found guilty of domestic battery, you might face up to a year in the county jail in addition to a $2,000 fine.

Final Result

Your employment could be impacted because this charge goes on your record. Once employers learn about the accusations, it can be more challenging to get employment. For this reason, you ought to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Domestic Violence Charges

Legal Consequences for Domestic Violence

Colorado law allows for a number of penalties for domestic abuse, including fines, probation, treatment, community service, and jail. Additionally, you can be barred from communicating with the victim in the future.

Other Serious Ramifications of Domestic Violence Charges

Your employment could be impacted because this charge goes on your record. Once employers learn about the accusations, it can be more challenging to get employment. You should speake with an attorney right away. 

The Severity of Domestic Violence Charges

In Colorado, if the alleged incident is not reported by the victim, charges of domestic violence may be brought. The victim cannot withdraw the complaint after you have been charged, but your domestic violence attorney can help.

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