Due to their urgency, domestic violence cases often move quickly through the criminal justice system. This fast-track process can leave individuals accused of a crime with many questions and uncertain about how to protect their rights. When you are facing charges involving domestic violence, you may want to contact a mountain communities domestic violence lawyer right away.
In some cases, allegations of domestic violence are false or exaggerated. False claims often occur in the context of child custody or divorce disputes, or when one intimate partner is seeking to punish the other when a relationship is deteriorating. Whatever the case may be, you should not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice. Let Justie and Jenn at Colorado Lawyer Team help you fight the charges. We will fight for you throughout the process and inform you of your rights every step of the way.
Domestic Violence Offenses in Mountain Communities
Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-6-800.3 defines domestic violence (DV) as an act of violence or threatened action against another with whom the accused is involved in an intimate relationship, or any other crime “when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” In other words, domestic violence itself is not a crime, it is a label applied to other criminal acts committed against an intimate partner. Individuals in an intimate relationship include the following relationships:
- Current or former spouses
- Current or former unmarried couples
- Persons who share a child
Domestic violence often operates as a sentence enhancer or aggravator that is added on to another criminal charge. The DV designation carries extended sentences, specialized evaluations, and mandatory treatment with it if someone pleads or is found guilty of an underlying offense that constitutes domestic violence.
Unique Features of Domestic Violence Charges
The state legislature has enacted specific procedural safeguards to protect victims of alleged domestic violence. For instance, if law enforcement officers have probable cause to believe that domestic violence occurred in a situation, then they are required to arrest the alleged offenders (Colorado is a “mandatory arrest” state). The arrested individuals then will remain in jail until a judge sets a bond amount after the victim has had adequate time to be informed and heard on the bond issue itself, which can result in a more extended jail stay than for standard criminal charges.
Furthermore, if alleged victims of domestic violence later want to take back their accusations, they cannot do so. The prosecutor cannot dismiss the domestic violence charges. Instead, they must declare to the court that they could not prove a prima facie case against the accused pertaining to an allegation of domestic violence.
While these procedures are in place to protect victims of domestic violence, they can lead to wrongful arrests and false accusations of abuse which are then perpetuated by DA’s who are hamstrung and unable to dismiss the case. Individuals who are facing these charges may wish to consult with a tenacious domestic violence lawyer within the mountain communities for legal advice immediately following an arrest.
Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses
Depending on the situation, individuals may face misdemeanor or felony charges for criminal offenses involving domestic violence. Various factors can impact the level of domestic violence criminal charges, including the severity of the injuries that the alleged victim suffered and the intent of the accused to cause harm. Other relevant factors may include the prior criminal history of the accused and whether the accused used a deadly weapon during the incident.
Some of the most common criminal offenses that involve domestic violence enhancements are the following:
- Harassment or stalking
- Sexual assault
- Theft, and
- Criminal Mischief
As a result, the consequences of a criminal conviction with domestic violence as an aggravator can be severe, including significant terms of incarceration and high fines. Most—if not all—individuals convicted of a crime involving domestic violence also must complete a mandatory domestic violence education course spanning many weeks.
Individuals with domestic violence convictions also may be subject to civil protection orders, which can place substantial limitations on their actions. They may lose custody or visitation rights with their children if convicted of violence toward an intimate partner. A domestic violence attorney in Colorado’s mountain communities may be able to defend individuals against allegations of criminal activity involving domestic violence.
Reach Out to a Mountain Communities Domestic Violence Attorney for Advice
When you have an experienced mountain communities domestic violence lawyer on your side, you may be in a better position to fight back against the charges. With the proper defense strategy, you may be able to achieve a more favorable outcome to the charges. Getting legal advice can be vital to your ability to avoid or minimize the potential penalties in your case. Interviewing witnesses, including the alleged victim, quickly after an incident can help mitigate the damage, too.
You can face collateral consequences of domestic violence, as well. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, you will lose all rights to possess firearms and ammunition (even prior to conviction), you may have difficulties finding a job, or trouble locating housing. These ramifications are only some of the many additional sanctions that you may face following a criminal conviction. Speak to Justie and Jenn at Colorado Lawyer Team today.