Domestic violence is a serious offense in Colorado that has been earmarked as a “pressing concern” by the state Legislature. What this means is that if you find yourself charged with domestic violence, you can expect to face a stern encounter with the police and the district attorney and the following potential consequences:
- Up to two years in jail possible
- Permanent loss of your ability to own a gun
- Employment and your ability to keep a security clearance may be lost
Domestic Violence in Colorado
In Colorado, “domestic violence” is a designation attached to a criminal case, which becomes a powerful sentencing enhancer that can result in up to two years of jail time, one or more years of probation, up to 36 weeks of domestic violence counseling, and the issuance of a very restrictive protection order. Even worse, if you are charged with felony domestic violence, you may end up in the state prison.
How is domestic violence defined?
Domestic violence, according to Colorado criminal law, is an act or threatened act of violence against a spouse, former spouse, past or present domestic partner, or a person with whom you’ve had a child whether or not you’ve ever lived together. While the accused can be either male or female, in the vast majority of cases the person charged is a male.
What happens in a domestic violence case?
In many domestic violence situations, the first person to call the police assumes the role of the accuser and the other party becomes the defendant. There are a few things you should know:
- When the police are called out on a domestic situation,they are required to make an arrest if they find probable cause to believe a crime involving domestic violence was committed. Someone is going to leave the house in handcuffs and be booked into the jail.
- If someone seeks medical treatment following a dispute, the hospitals are required by law to report the case to the police if they believe there was an act of domestic violence. The alleged offender in the situation will be arrested on the same probable cause standard.
- A domestic violence restraining order will be issued so the accused can have no contact with the accuser (typically the spouse or girlfriend) or the children
- When you are arrested for domestic violence, immediately request a domestic violence defense lawyer. Don’t say anything until you have talked with your lawyer. Be aware that many jurisdictions have adopted “Domestic Violence Fast Track” programs which are designed to move cases quickly while the complaining party is still motivated to follow through with the prosecution. Don’t admit guilt. Calling an attorney is the best thing you can do to protect your rights.
- You will be held in jail without being allowed to post bond until you appear before a judge for advisement and entry of a Mandatory Protection Order. Since many domestic violence disputes occur on the weekend, this may require the accused to spend one or two nights in jail before the hearing.
- When you appear in court, tell the judge you want an attorney.The court may require a bond, or you may be released on your own recognizance. Listen carefully to the Court’s advisement, and strictly obey the terms of the Mandatory Protection Order.
The Accused Has a lot at Stake
Being charged with domestic violence is a serious offense that can impact the rest of your life. The tragedy is, that often these charges arise out of nothing more serious than a husband and wife arguing. There doesn’t even have to be physical violence for a police-involved problem to develop. An angry or spiteful partner has more than occasionally used a domestic violence charge as a way of getting back at a partner or gaining leverage in an impending divorce or custody battle. The truth is that most domestic violence cases begin in a highly emotional situation. In the heat of the moment, the accuser doesn’t often consider the serious life-changing consequences of their actions.
Your life as an accused person is forever altered once the arrest has been made. An automatic restraining order will go into effect that will keep you from having any contact with the other party. The restraining order may dictate that you must keep a minimum distance from the person accusing you. Even if you inadvertently end up at the grocery store, mall, or cinema and she/he is there, you could be jailed for violating the order if you do not immediately leave that location.
Impact on Ability to Own Firearms
Once the court has convicted you of domestic violence you can no longer possess a firearm.
A criminal record that includes domestic violence may affect your ability to get a job or pass a security clearance.
You Need a Castle Rock Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
The moment you are arrested for domestic violence, request an attorney and call our highly experienced domestic violence defense attorneys. We know the strategies to employ to minimize the damage to your life and your image in the community. We can advise you what to do and just as importantly what not to do to avoid a long, difficult battle with your accuser. If you reside in Castle Rock, Douglas County, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, or anywhere else in the south metro Denver region, call us at 303-688-0944 for immediate assistance with your case.