Domestic violence is a serious problem in Colorado. Approximately 55 people die each year in domestic violence-related crimes. Sadly, nearly 37% of women and almost 31% of men in Colorado said they are domestic violence victims. That’s a lot of people. Consequently, prosecutors in Colorado—especially in Boulder—take domestic violence charges seriously. They have to fight to ensure that a domestic violence victim receives the protection they need.
However, domestic violence prosecutors only hear one side of the story and tend to assume every allegation of domestic violence is true. That’s why you need aggressive Boulder domestic violence defense lawyers to fight for you.
If you face domestic violence allegations, you need to tell your side of the story. The Boulder domestic violence defense attorneys with Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., will be your voice and advocate. They know from decades of experience how to fight domestic violence charges aggressively.
What Is Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Colorado law defines domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence directed toward someone with whom the perpetrator is in a current or former intimate relationship. The domestic violence definition also includes crimes against a person, property, and animals when the perpetrator uses violence as a method of control, coercion, punishment, intimidation, or revenge when directed toward a current or former partner in an intimate relationship.
Intimate relationship refers to a current or former spouse, current or former unmarried couples, and parents of a child regardless of whether or not they ever lived together or were married.
Domestic violence is not a crime standing on its own—it must be based on another stand-alone crime like assault or battery. When a crime such as assault includes domestic violence because the perpetrator and victim were in an intimate relationship, the “domestic violence” finding functions as a sentencing enhancement. In other words, you face a stiffer penalty if the incident involves domestic violence.
Colorado law contains sentencing enhancements the judge must impose when the court determines that the case involves domestic violence. For example, suppose a judge sentences Joe to jail for a year on an assault charge. If domestic violence is involved, the court then has to order the offender to a treatment program and evaluation designed to treat the root cause of domestic violence.
Habitual Domestic Violence Offender
A case involving domestic violence carries other sentencing considerations as well. A person charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor can face a Class 5 felony if the person accused has three previous convictions for domestic violence offenses. Colorado law refers to an individual with at least three prior domestic violence offenses as a habitual domestic violence offender.
Finally, a person convicted of an offense involving domestic violence cannot possess a firearm or ammunition. The offender must surrender all firearms and cannot purchase a gun until the offender satisfies the sentence.
Criminal Offenses that Often Involve Domestic Violence
Nearly any crime involving a person or property can involve domestic violence. In Boulder, there are several charges that prosecutors frequently bring against domestic violence offenders. Those offenses are:
- False Imprisonment,
- Child abuse,
- Elder abuse,
- Sexual contact, and
These are not the only crimes associated with domestic violence. Colorado law considers municipal ordinance violations if the offender committed the violation with the intent to intimidate, threaten, control, or punish.
What Happens If the Alleged Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?
Domestic violence prosecutors are known for their dogged determination. They often receive substantial training on domestic violence prosecutions.
Prosecutors will not simply dismiss a case at the victim’s request. Savvy domestic violence prosecutors find a way to take the case to trial even if the victim does not want to participate. They do this by finding evidence of the crime that does not depend on the victim’s cooperation.
How Can the Prosecutor Proceed Without the Victim?
First, they often look for evidence of wrongdoing or intimidation by the accused. If they find such pressure exists, they’ll do their best to address and alleviate that intimidation and hopefully get the victim back on board. Additionally, prosecutors often try to admit 911 calls into evidence at trial to show that the abuse happened, despite the victim’s recent reluctance to testify. 911 calls often have crying and hysterical callers begging for immediate police help. These so-called “excited utterances” can badly hurt the accused even if the victim does not want to testify.
Police departments have officers who receive domestic violence training too. Those highly trained officers know what to look for and what to document. They will take pictures, search for witnesses, and ensure the alleged victim receives medical treatment if necessary. In fact, the victim’s medical records often contain key evidence in a domestic violence case.
Caring for Victims
Scrambling for a way to take a case to trial without victim cooperation is the last resort for the state. They never want to let it get to that point. As a result, prosecutors’ offices do what they can to make sure the victim stays “on board.” They employ victim advocates who keep the alleged victim apprised of what is happening with their case. They will often assist victims in getting into battered women’s shelters and other programs to ensure their safety. Victim advocates also gather input on sentencing considerations and additional vital information.
What Should You Do If You Face Domestic Violence Allegations in Boulder?
Contacting experienced Boulder domestic violence lawyers as soon as possible is the best thing you can do to help yourself. However, there are a few things to remember if the police are investigating you and there is no time to contact your attorney.
Colorado domestic violence laws require the police to arrest at least one person if they have probable cause to believe someone committed a domestic violence offense. That usually means whoever the police believe to be the aggressor is going to jail.
Try to cooperate with the police as best as you can. Domestic violence situations are volatile and expose officers to dangerous situations. They are already on edge when they arrive to investigate. Don’t make matters worse. Remain calm and do not speak. You won’t be able to talk your way out of the situation, so don’t try. Talking to the police can only get you into deeper trouble. If the police want to interrogate you, politely insist that you have a lawyer present with you at all times.
Boulder Domestic Violence Lawyers
Contact Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. immediately if you were arrested on a domestic violence charge. With decades of trial experience, they are not afraid to fight in court for you. Nothing is more sacred than your freedom, and our award-winning attorneys will fight to protect you and your rights.
Our experienced legal team handles other types of cases as well, including: