Seeking representation from a highly skilled and knowledgeable attorney is necessary if you get charged with domestic violence in Colorado. Domestic violence allegations could ruin your life even if you did nothing wrong. Additionally, domestic violence charges carry strict penalties and can have long-lasting consequences.
Having the right defense team fighting for you is the best way to fight a domestic violence charge in Colorado. Selecting the best lawyer for you is possibly the most important decision you will make throughout your case. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have decades of trial experience fighting to protect the rights of people facing criminal charges. And we can be the best weapon in your defense arsenal. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Is Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Domestic violence is not an independent, stand-alone crime. Instead, domestic violence is a sentencing enhancement that applies when certain crimes—like battery—occur between people who are in an intimate or familial relationship with one another. Colorado law defines domestic violence as any act or threatened act of violence made upon a person in an intimate relationship with the alleged perpetrator. The definition of domestic violence in Colorado is broad and includes former and current intimate relationships. The law also includes crimes against a person or property (including animals) when used to coerce, intimidate, control, punish, or exact revenge against someone you’re in an intimate relationship with.
Define Intimate Relationship
Intimate relationship has a precise meaning in Colorado law. The phrase “intimate relationship” refers to relationships between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried romantic partners, or people who have a child together, even if they were never married or never lived together.
Common Charges Underlying Domestic Violence Enhancements
Most criminal offenses against a person or property could fall under the domestic violence definition. The domestic violence enhancement typically gets added to the following base charges:
- Corporal injury to a spouse,
- Criminal threats,
- Child endangerment or abuse, and
- Elder abuse.
Destruction of property, theft, and other property crimes could also fall under the rubric of domestic violence. Some of these charges are misdemeanors when they stand alone. But the punishments can intensify when domestic violence is attached, and any criminal conviction can harm your future. Having an experienced domestic violence lawyer from Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. can minimize the fallout from such charges.
What Sentence Could You Face if You Are Charged with Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Colorado’s domestic violence sentencing law indicates that the sentence that the court could impose is the same as the underlying charge.
Evaluation and Treatment
If convicted and not sentenced to jail or prison, the domestic violence sentencing law requires the judge to order you to complete an evaluation and treatment plan for domestic abuse. But the judge does not have to wait until sentencing to order you to get treatment. The law allows the judge to order an abuse evaluation and treatment program if it helps fashion an appropriate sentence.
In many cases, probation is the best and most appropriate sentencing option. However, the judge must first determine if putting you on probation would endanger the alleged victim and any involved children. If so, probation would not be appropriate.
Deferred Judgment and Reduced Charges
Colorado law also allows you to enter a deferred judgment plea for a domestic violence charge.
However, a prosecutor can only agree to reduce your charges if they are unable to prove the existence of the required intimate relationship.
Prior convictions for domestic violence charges can hurt you and increase your sentence. Misdemeanor offenses become Class 5 felony charges if you have three prior convictions for domestic violence. As a result, you spend between one and three years in state prison unless your criminal record or the facts of the case permit increasing the prison time you could serve.
Additional Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges
There are additional consequences that could affect your rights. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you are not allowed to buy firearms or ammunition, and you must surrender any currently in your possession. Also, the judge could issue a restraining order mandating that you have no contact with the people named in the order—even if they’re your children. Finally, domestic violence charges remain on your permanent criminal record unless the judge allows you to enter into a deferred judgment.
What Defenses Do You Have for a Domestic Violence Case in Colorado?
Unfortunately, people often face domestic violence charges based on lies or exaggerations. People in close relationships have been known to use Colorado’s strict domestic violence laws to get revenge or to gain the upper hand in divorce or custody disputes.
Law enforcement’s hands are tied when someone close to you is willing to lie. The police must arrest you if they have probable cause to believe you committed domestic violence. For example, if your spouse called the police and claimed that you pushed her into a wall, the police have probable cause to believe a crime occurred. They must arrest you at that point, even if there is no evidence to corroborate your spouse’s story.
The police cannot sort the situation out to determine who is telling the truth because if they are wrong, someone could get hurt. In the moment and at the scene, they must protect the alleged victim, even if they suspect the victim is lying. That’s why we have trials. At trial, your attorney can challenge the validity of your spouse’s story and hopefully punch enough holes in it that the jury will see through the lies.
And even if you did touch your spouse in an unwanted way, depending on the circumstances, we could have other defenses. For instance, if your spouse was the initial aggressor and you were just defending yourself—you likely have a valid defense.
Often, people who call the police to report domestic violence crimes regret doing so afterward. People often recant their police statements and ask the prosecutor to drop the charges. But you should know that the prosecutor does not have to drop the charges just because the alleged victim does not want to go forward. More likely, the prosecutor will try to work around an uncooperative victim by looking for other evidence. But we can use this information to help you beat domestic violence charges.
Your Defense Team
Call Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys. We maintain the highest standards of professionalism to help you overcome your unique challenges. We are always ready to fight to protect your rights and freedom, and our impressive track record of results proves our commitment to you.