Representing Clients in the Denver Metropolitan Area and Throughout the State of Colorado
Are you facing domestic violence charges? If so, you’re not alone. Domestic violence is a significant problem throughout America, as these statistics illustrate:
- Twenty people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
- More than 10 million Americans suffer domestic violence each year.
- Victims of physical violence by an intimate partner include one in three women and one in four men.
- Each day, domestic violence hotlines receive 20,000 phone calls.
Domestic violence calls are often the most dangerous types of calls for police. Because of the stigma surrounding those accused of domestic violence, defendants need an expert criminal defense attorney.
Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
According to Colorado law, domestic violence is classified as an act of violence – or a threat of violence – against a person that holds an intimate relationship with the person. An intimate relationship under the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) 18-6-800.3(2) is described as:
- Former spouses,
- Unmarried couples within the present or past,
- Spouses with a current relationship, or
- Parents of at least one child who may or may not have married or lived together in the past.
So domestic violence charges in Colorado hold a unique space in the court. Domestic violence is not its own crime. Instead, domestic violence acts as an element that enhances other crimes, like assault charges.
This means that an assault, or other violence committed on an intimate partner, could carry penalties above standard assault sentencing.
Also, you don’t have to physically touch someone to be convicted of domestic violence. These acts might qualify for charges of domestic violence:
- Punching a hole in the wall,
- Threatening someone,
- Stalking an intimate partner,
- Harassing an intimate partner by phone call or text,
- Harming a family pet, or
- Yelling at a partner using obscene language.
Because of the potential for harsh penalties in these cases, an experienced domestic violence lawyer is crucial.
After You’ve Been Arrested
Colorado is a mandatory arrest state. This means if a police officer believes that a crime or offense involves domestic violence, the officer must arrest the person suspected of domestic violence (C.R.S. 18-6-803.6).
If the police approach you about domestic violence, remember your Constitutional rights. You have the right to remain silent. They will use what you say against you. You have the right to an attorney. Don’t speak to the police, and request an attorney immediately.
Avoid Contact with the Accuser
Once arrested for domestic violence, the accused offender cannot post bond until the alleged victim is informed of the arrest. The accuser cannot withdraw the accusation once it has been made.
After making the accusation, the accuser has no say in whether the state prosecutes the offense. In fact, Colorado is a “no drop” state, meaning that the prosecutor cannot drop a domestic violence charge unless it seems impossible to prove the case in a trial.
A mandatory restraining order applies to anyone arrested for domestic violence. This means that you cannot contact your accuser or have a third party contact your accuser on your behalf. The victim also has the right to speak at sentencing and to receive notice of the defendant’s release.
Steps Following an Arrest
To summarize, if you’re arrested for domestic violence, follow these steps:
- Do not speak to the police. Use your right to remain silent.
- Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
- When you are released, do not contact the victim. Do not ask anyone else to contact the victim.
- Do not accept phone calls or respond to texts from the victim.
Following these steps during and after a domestic violence arrest can make a big difference in your case. Protect yourself and your future by calling an experienced criminal defense attorney for more advice about your case.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence is a sentencing enhancer rather than a crime unto itself. But, it is a sentence enhancer that is serious. A domestic violence charge can attach to almost any other crime, increasing the punishment.
Also, in the Front Range, domestic violence cases will be fast-tracked. This means at the initial court appearance the District Attorney will often have a plea offer ready for the defendant.
Tempting as it might be, the initial offer, if accepted, can be onerous. Don’t accept the initial offer without consulting an attorney.
Why? Accepting a plea offer without an attorney’s help might cause you unnecessary punishment. Every conviction of domestic violence requires that a person receive domestic violence counseling.
This counseling is grouped into one of three levels: A, B, or C, with C being the most difficult. A criminal defense attorney can help you get reduced counseling requirements.
Domestic violence convictions also bring other penalties. If you are convicted of domestic violence, federal and state law will prohibit the ownership of firearms and ammunition.
So you need an experienced attorney to help get your charges reduced or dismissed to avoid lifelong consequences.
It is important to hire an experienced domestic violence criminal defense lawyer. If you are charged with domestic violence in Colorado, you need someone who will fight for your rights and help you navigate the system.
The District Attorney is an attorney who will bring the full resources of the state against you. Don’t you want to have an attorney on your side, who can present an informed legal defense? Don’t you want an attorney to fight for your rights and present your side of the case?
Domestic Violence Defense
Once you face a domestic violence charge in Colorado, the charge can not be dropped. Even if the one who filed the charge in the first place no longer wants to move forward, or you have forgiven each other, the prosecution must continue with the case.
With this in mind, it is best to cut all contact with the other person until the case finishes. This means no physical contact, no texting, no e-mailing, or any other form of communication.
As painful as this may sound, communicating with the other person puts you at risk for losing your case, leading to loss of rights such as owning a firearm.
During these sensitive times, a criminal defense lawyer can help build your case and plan to challenge this charge. Don’t wait for an attorney to rush a deal for you, contact us today.
Contact Our Colorado Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
At the office of Miller Leonard PC, our dedicated Colorado domestic violence lawyer has experience handling a wide range of cases. If you have been arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense, you need to act now.
Please do not hesitate to call us today at (720) 613-8783 to schedule a free, fully confidential legal consultation. With an office in Golden, we serve communities throughout the Denver metropolitan area, including in Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, and Adams County.