Colorado Domestic Violence Laws: A REAL Quagmire for the DV Offender.
Domestic Violence is a very real problem in Colorado and throughout the United States. Last year, there were over ten millions acts of domestic violence in the United States. The Federal Government estimates that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. District Attorneys are trained to treat all DV offenses seriously. If you are charged with a DV case, you will face a legal quagmire.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TAKES MANY FORMS: A domestic violence scenario can take many forms. Any physical, verbal, or demeaning emotional act against your partner will likely come under the umbrella of “domestic violence.” Many people are apt to limit the idea of domestic violence to a physical, or verbal assault. DV however is far more expansive. You should know that any crime against a partner - committed with the purpose of exerting control, punishment, coercion, intimidation, or revenge will likely come under the umbrella of domestic violence.
COLORADO HAS A MANDATORY ARREST POLICY: Colorado has a mandatory arrest policy. If the police believe that an act of domestic violence has occurred, they can enter a home without a warrant. Colorado state law requires that the accused must be arrested "without any delay." Anyone arrested will spend at least one night in jail (and perhaps longer) before appearing in court and having their bond set.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVOLVES PARTNERS WHO HAVE SHARED AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP. C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(1) mandates that domestic violence involves an act of violence or threats of violence against a person with whom the actor is intimately involved or whom has been intimately involved with in the past.
COMMON DV RELATED CHARGES: Common DV charges include, assault, harassment, child abuse, animal cruelty, strangulation, destruction of property, theft, and others. Domestic violence laws include not only violence against partners, but violence against children, against property, and against animals.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IF OFTEN ABOUT CONTROL OF A PARTNER. Experts routinely opine that the main purpose behind domestic violence is to exert control in an intimate relationship. When one partner coerces, controls, orders, intimidates, retaliates, plots revenge, etc., against another partner, domestic violence is present. Domestic violence often involves isolation of the victim and financial repercussions.
INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP: An intimate relationship is broadly defined in C.R.S. 18-6-800 to include any relationship between partners who have engaged in an intimate relationship. The definition includes married couples, divorced couples, couples who cohabitate or have cohabitated, couples who are dating, friends with sexual benefits, same sex couples, and generally any couple that has ever engaged in a sexual relationship no matter how brief.
A VICTIM CANNOT DROP THE CHARGES: A victim cannot simply drop the charges. Colorado has no "drop charges" provision in her DV statutes. The victim cannot control whether a DV charge is filed, how it is prosecuted, and if the charge is dropped.
A DV CHARGE PLACES YOUR GUN RIGHTS IN JEOPARDY: A DV charge puts the offender’s gun rights in real jeopardy. The offender cannot possess a gun during the pendency of the DV proceeding. The mandatory protection order will prohibit the offender from using or possessing a firearm of any kind while the case is pending. You will have to provide the Court with a firearm relinquishment affidavit. The offender cannot use or possess a firearm while on probation. It is not clear whether a DV offender will EVER get their gun rights back. Most DV pleas serve to deny the offender gun rights.
DV PLEAS HAVE FAR REACHING CONSEQUNCES: Any DV plea will have far reaching consequences. Felonies carry prison sentences. Any offender placed on supervised probation and will have to undergo a DV evaluation and take a strict regimen of classes, counseling, and treatment.
REPEAT DV OFFENDERS FACE FELONY CHARGES: Repeat DV offenders face felony charges. Repeat acts of domestic violence will result in a felony offense. The District Attorney and the Courts will look to see if the Offender faces a first time DV or whether the Offender has prior convictions or arrests.
Disclaimer: This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship. While I have made reasonable efforts upon publication to be accurate, my blog is not intended to provide legal advice or to apply to a specific case or individual. The law since publication is subject to change. Readers considering obtaining legal advice should consult with an experienced lawyer. Call Peter B. Albani at (303) 753-0900.