Colorado Law Makers have determined that domestic violence is a very serious threat to our society. As such, the laws surrounding criminal allegations involving domestic violence provide virtually zero discretion for law enforcement. Basically, if a law enforcement agency receives a report of crime that is domestic violence related, a police officer, deputy sheriff or a law enforcement officer will be dispatched to the location of the call. If there is any claim of domestic violence at all, an arrest will be made by the cop. Although the intent of the Colorado General Assembly is honorable and respectful, often times a person is charged with a criminal offense when they are innocent.
When a person is arrested or charged with a domestic violence criminal offense, the suspect will not be allowed to post bond until they have appeared before a judge. Also, in some Colorado jurisdictions, the deputy district attorney / prosecutor will attempt to have the accused enter into a plea agreement immediately, often threatening to add in more charges or threaten to seek jail time if the accused does not accept the plea agreement offered. The unfortunate result is that a suspect may feel pressured or forced to enter a plea before they have a right to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
You could even be subjected to a protective order, otherwise known as a restraining order if you are arrested for domestic violence. Domestic protective orders in Colorado are nearly always “no contact.” This means you may be forced to move out of your home if you share a residence with the alleged victim.
All of these reasons and more are enough to hire legal representation. If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence offense, then it’s recommended you seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Defense Lawyer for Domestic Violence in Colorado Springs, CO
Have you been recently accused of domestic violence? It’s important you’re ready for anything that could happen in that courtroom. That is why it’s advised you get in contact with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC have an in-depth knowledge of Colorado law. With our resources and skills, we can create a strong defense to fight your charges. Call us now at (719) 328-1616 and set up a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Fountain, Calhan, and Manitou Springs.
Overview of Domestic Violence in Colorado
- What Does Colorado Consider to Be Domestic Violence?
- Consequences of Domestic Violence in Colorado
- Protective Orders in Colorado
- What is a Habitual Domestic Violence Offender?
- Can A Domestic Violence Charge be Dropped by the Victim?
- How Long Does a Domestic Violence Charge Stay on Your Record?
- Additional Resources
What Does Colorado Consider to Be Domestic Violence?
You probably already have an idea what domestic violence is based off of movies and media. However, Colorado has a specific legal definition for domestic violence under 18-6-800.3 C.R.S. The law states the term domestic violence is:
….an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. “Domestic violence” also includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.
In other words, threatening violence on someone you have an intimate relationship with would be considered domestic violence. This includes threats against that person’s property or animals. The term “intimate relationship” includes, but is not limited to:
- Former spouses;
- Past or present unmarried couples;
- Couples sharing a child; and
- Family members such as siblings or parents
Friends, roommates, co-workers or acquaintances would not fit the definition of an intimate relationship. It must be someone you have a romantic or familial attachment to.
Consequences of Domestic Violence in Colorado
Colorado is a mandatory domestic violence arrest state, which means if the police suspect domestic violence, they must arrest you. Even if the alleged victim doesn’t wish to press charges or changes their mind about the attack later on.
An arrest for domestic violence also triggers a mandatory protective order. A protective order is also referred to as a restraining order. The court order sets strict boundaries on how close you can be to the victim and places they visit. For example, a protective order may state you’re not allowed to exceed 500 feet past the victim’s residence or their place of work.
The restraining order is automatically issued. This means you must follow it even if the alleged victim didn’t petition for it. In addition, domestic violence protective orders are considered to be “no contact.” If you live with the alleged victim, the court will order you to move out until further notice.
If the court determines the offense to be domestic violence, then they could do any of the following to your sentencing:
- Add prison or jail time;
- Completion of a domestic violence treatment evaluation and program;
- Prohibit you from possessing a firearm;
- Issue a protective order; and
- Input your information into the public restraining order registry
Protective Orders in Colorado
If domestic violence allegations are made against you, then the court will implement a mandatory restraining order. The court order will prohibit you from intimidating, visiting, tampering, retaliation or harassing any witnesses or victims involved in the domestic violence charge. It will also order you to:
- Vacate or avoid the residence of the alleged victim;
- Avoid the victim’s place of work, family’s residences or any other place where they are likely to be found;
- Refrain from contact, direct or indirect, with the alleged victim such as instant messaging, calling on the telephone or texting
- Inability to possess or control firearms;
- Avoid the use of any alcohol or controlled substances; and
- Whatever conditions the court deems appropriate to protect the victim
Once the order is issued, your name will be entered into the electronic protective order registry. This will alert local law enforcement that you are the subject of a restraining order so they can ensure you don’t violate the conditions.
Violating a protective order in itself is a crime and you could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor include:
- Up to 18 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $5,000
What is a Habitual Domestic Violence Offender in Colorado?
Multiple domestic violence offenses can lead to serious consequences. If you have three or more prior convictions involving domestic violence, then you could be charged as a habitual domestic violence offender.
Being classified as a habitual domestic violence offender is a class 5 felony in Colorado. The penalties for a class 5 felony include:
- Up to 3 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $100,000
Can a Domestic Violence Charge be Dropped in Colorado?
Family matters and arguments can be incredibly complicated and paint a very different picture to an outsider. Often when there is a domestic violence call, law enforcement will commonly arrest one party. They do this by assessing the scene, interviewing all who were involved, and then using subjective evidence to determine who is the “aggressor.” However, in some instances the “aggressor” is someone who was falsely accused by the alleged “victim” for revenge or another malicious reason. The alleged victim may then realize the enormity of their actions and attempt to “drop” the charges afterwards.
Unfortunately, once someone has bene charged with domestic violence in the state of Colorado, the charges cannot be dropped. The reason for this is because the situation has risen to a level where the state has become involved, so therefore the victim does not have the power to “drop” or “take back” the charges. The state will instead examine the evidence and determine whether it’s appropriate to prosecute or not. For this reason, it’s important you secure legal representation even if the victim no longer wishes to press charges.
How Long Does a Domestic Violence Charge Stay On Your Record?
The majority of domestic violence related convictions cannot be sealed in the state of Colorado. Only municipal court cases can be sealed after a three-year waiting period has ended. During that period, the defendant mustn’t charged with any domestic violence related cases or they will lose their eligibility to seal their criminal record. Domestic violence related convictions in a non-municipal court will remain on the defendant’s record for the rest of their life. That is why it’s incredibly important you secure legal representation if you were accused of a domestic violence related crime.
If the case is dismissed, then the defendant can pursue a record seal immediately. A domestic violence related case is also sealable if one of the
- The defendant was acquitted at trial;
- The charge was dismissed pursuant to a diversion or deferred judgement;
- The charge was otherwise dismissed through a plea bargain;
- The prosecution declined to press charges
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Visit the official website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline to learn more about their services for victims of domestic abuse. Access their site to learn how to get help from advocates, tips on how to stay safe and more.
Colorado Domestic Violence Program – Visit the official website of the Domestic Violence Program (DVP) which contracts community-based domestic violence advocacy programs to help lessen the domestic violence in Colorado. Access the site to learn more about DVP, resources for programs and how to find a community-based program near you.
Defense Lawyer for Domestic Violence in El Paso County, CO
If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime, it’s imperative you get in contact with a defense lawyer. A domestic violence arrest means enhanced penalties and even a possible restraining order. Contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC to learn what your available legal options are today.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC are well-versed in Colorado’s legal system, especially sex crimes. We can assist you by suppressing evidence, cross-examining witnesses or doing whatever is needed for your case. Call (719) 328-1616 now to set up a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater El Paso County area including Pueblo County, Fremont County, Teller County, Douglas County, Elbert County, and Lincoln County.