Charges of domestic violence can create a ripple effect. They can impact your reputation, your job, your family, and even your living situation. Don’t wait to fight the accusations against you. This is no less true in Arvada, Colorado. The consequences of domestic violence cases are immediate.
Even when the domestic violence accusations involve no threat of violence, the allegations can’t be retracted. Colorado law does not even require any physical violence at all for a domestic violence charge.
If you or someone you know is faced with an accusation of domestic violence, contact the Arvada domestic violence attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. We have the experience to address your concerns and build a strong domestic violence defense.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Under Colorado law, domestic violence isn’t limited to spousal abuse. Colorado has a specific legal definition. Domestic violence is defined as any act or threatened act of violence against an individual with whom the offender has an intimate relationship.
An intimate relationship includes, but is not limited to:
- Former spouses,
- Past or present unmarried couples, and
- Couples sharing a child.
Colorado defines an intimate relationship broadly. You can be charged with domestic violence for acts against anyone with whom you have had an intimate relationship at any time.
Domestic violence also includes any other legal violation someone commits against a person or property (including an animal) to control, coerce, punish, or threaten someone they have been in an intimate relationship with.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Arvada
Penalties for cases involving domestic violence depend on the seriousness of the injury, the type of assault, and the actor’s criminal history. These penalties can include:
- Mandatory arrest,
- Protective orders,
- Possible domestic violence evaluation and treatment,
- Loss of firearm rights,
- Deportation for non-citizens, and
- Restitution to the victim.
A domestic violence conviction can result in any or all of the above penalties.
Colorado is a mandatory arrest state. That means the police must arrest anyone they believe committed domestic violence. Even if the people involved do not want to press charges, at least one person will be arrested.
A court can issue a protective order, also known as a restraining order, against the accused offender. The order can be temporary, permanent, or based on an emergency situation. Each type of restraining order has serious consequences. Based on the details of the offense, a protective order can:
- Order the accused to stop contacting the victim,
- Order the accused to move out of their home,
- Remove all child custody rights from the accused,
- Require the accused to surrender rights to bear firearms, and
- Order the accused to continue making child support or alimony payments.
Whether a judge orders some or all of the above depends on the particular facts of the case.
Domestic Violence as a Sentence Enhancer
Domestic violence in Colorado is not treated as a crime by itself. This means that you will never receive a standalone charge for domestic violence. Instead, domestic violence is a sentencing enhancer. It increases the punishment for an offense. The enhancement attaches to any other crime when law enforcement believes you:
- Committed an act or threatened an act of violence against someone you’ve had an intimate relationship with; or
- Committed any crime against an intimate partner as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge.
Certain crimes are more likely to include a domestic violence enhancement. These crimes include:
- Child abuse,
- Elder abuse,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual contact,
- Violating a restraining order, and
- Weapons charges.
Domestic violence does not always manifest as physical abuse or sexual abuse. There can be:
- Financial abuse,
- Verbal abuse,
- Technological abuse, or
- Emotional abuse.
Whatever the charge, you need experienced legal counsel to represent you. An attorney can help determine whether your case should qualify for the domestic violence enhancement.
Fighting Domestic Violence Charges
The police are required to arrest any person that they believe has committed an act of domestic violence. Only the prosecutor can decide to drop the charges. The victim’s word is not likely enough. The accused may have an opportunity to get the enhancement dropped. But even if the prosecutor drops the domestic violence enhancement, the accused can still get charged for the underlying crime.
If the prosecutor proceeds with the domestic violence criminal case, you will need a lawyer. It is critical that you understand how domestic violence charges work. Depending on the circumstances, a lawyer can explain your options. A skilled domestic violence attorney can work to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
If the prosecutor continues to pursue a domestic violence enhancement, you can get your case dropped if the crime was committed in self-defense, the situation was an accident, or the victim falsely accused you. A lawyer can also help you:
- Negotiate a plea deal,
- Investigate the facts and witnesses,
- Attempt to obtain a not-guilty verdict, or
- Counsel you through a treatment track.
Colorado’s domestic violence laws cover a broad range of acts. This leaves much to interpretation. Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. attorneys are not afraid to fight against the government and its harsh laws on your behalf.
Hire Qualified Counsel for Your Arvada Domestic Violence Defense
Do not take domestic violence charges lightly. You may lose custody of your children or experience ruined relationships. The consequences stemming from a conviction or guilty plea can be devastating. Dealing with the immediate restrictions of a domestic violence situation can be life-altering.
With so much hanging in the balance, you need an experienced Arvada domestic violence lawyer. Our Arvada domestic violence attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. want to ensure that you receive a fair trial. We can also work with the court on options such as a reduced sentence, house arrest, or increased community service hours. Don’t let domestic violence charges take everything you’ve worked so hard to gain.
Let our experienced lawyers assist with your domestic violence defense. Continuing the legacy established over the decades, our partners have over 75 years of combined experience. We would like to put our zealous criminal defense advocacy to work for you. Call or contact us online to discuss your case.