Domestic violence charges are no laughing matter. Colorado prosecutors take them extremely seriously, and so should you. Even a mere domestic violence accusation can be damaging. A conviction will most certainly have severe repercussions. If you were recently involved in an altercation with your spouse or partner and the police were called, you need to seek help from an attorney immediately. Domestic violence charges have serious consequences even before a jury hears your side of the story.
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have three decades of experience litigating in the courtroom and fighting for our clients’ rights and freedoms. Contact us today.
Colorado Domestic Violence Law
Under Colorado law, domestic violence is an act or threat of violence against a person who was or is in an intimate relationship with the defendant. The statute defines an intimate relationship as a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are parents to the same child.
In Colorado, domestic violence is not treated as an independent crime. Instead, it is an aggravating factor or enhancement to other crimes. In other words, a domestic violence accusation will increase the penalty for any crime committed against your current or former intimate partner.
Consequences for Domestic Violence Charges
Everyone has heard the saying “innocent until proven guilty.” While that is true in domestic violence cases, there are immediate consequences to a domestic dispute.
Colorado is a mandatory arrest state. If the police respond to a domestic altercation, one or both parties will be arrested in part to de-escalate the situation.
In many cases, the court will issue protective orders to prevent the defendant from abusing, threatening, or contacting the alleged victim.
A protective order or restraining order will have instant repercussions, such as prohibiting the defendant from returning home. This could mean you need to find a temporary place to reside while your case works its way through the justice system. A protective order can also prohibit you from having contact with and custody of your children.
The court can impose any protective order it deems necessary. In Colorado, an extreme risk protection order will require legal gun owners to surrender their firearms if the court considers them at risk of committing gun violence.
A domestic violence arrest can also negatively affect your:
- Immigration status,
- Employment opportunities,
- Military status and ability to enter the military,
- Loan applications (e.g., mortgage, student loans), and
- Professional licenses (e.g., doctor, lawyer).
A domestic violence allegation may also impact your social standing among your peers, co-workers, family, and friends. Don’t let an accusation destroy your life. Get advice and assistance from an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. today.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Conviction
Because domestic violence is considered an enhancement charge in Colorado, the punishment will directly depend on the underlying offense.
If the defendant commits a crime against a person they have or had an intimate relationship with, the prosecutor can include a domestic violence charge. Domestic violence is commonly charged alongside:
- Sexual contact,
- Sexual assault, and
One of the most commonly charged underlying crimes in domestic violence cases is assault.
Colorado Domestic Violence Assault
In Colorado, assault occurs when the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts bodily injury on another person. To be convicted of domestic violence assault, the prosecutor must prove an intimate relationship exists or existed between the defendant and the alleged victim. Please note there doesn’t need to be a sexual aspect to the relationship for it to be considered intimate.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Assault
In Colorado, the penalties imposed for domestic violence assault will vary depending on the type of assault, the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, and the defendant’s prior criminal record, including their domestic violence history. Assault is classified into three different degrees in Colorado, which are:
- First-degree assault—this is the most serious degree and is a class 3 felony. A conviction will result in a prison sentence of 10 to 32 years;
- Second-degree assault—this is a class 4 felony, and a conviction can carry a prison sentence of 5 to 16 years; and
- Third-degree assault—this is generally considered a class 1 misdemeanor and could result in up to 18 months in jail.
A defendant may be classified as a habitual domestic violence offender if they have been convicted of three prior DV offenses and are facing a fourth. In the state of Colorado, this is a class 5 felony with a potential sentence of one to three years incarceration and two years of mandatory parole following release from prison in addition to the punishment for the underlying crime.
Jail Time for Domestic Violence Is Not the Only Penalty
In addition to incarceration, a domestic violence offender may be sentenced to:
- A domestic violence treatment program,
- Drug and alcohol counseling,
- Temporary or permanent restraining orders,
- Loss of firearms, and
- Being classified as a “habitual DV offender.”
Often, in domestic violence cases, the judge will order an evaluation before sentencing to assist them in determining which, if any, of these penalties will be appropriate in your case.
What If I Never Laid a Hand on My Partner?
It is essential to understand that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence. Domestic violence can include coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed at a person with whom the defendant has or had an intimate relationship. Even if you never physically assaulted your accuser, you may still be charged with domestic violence.
Colorado Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
Colorado prosecutors pursue domestic violence offenses fiercely. You need an attorney who will defend you just as vigorously. Remember, the prosecutor is there to speak for the victim. Let us be your voice and advocate on your behalf. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we are no newbies in the courtroom. We have three decades of litigation experience that you will benefit from. Contact us through our website or by phone to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.