Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
Anyone in Colorado who uses violence or the threat of violence against someone in an “intimate relationship” with them can be charged with domestic violence. The term “domestic violence” carries a heavy stigma with it, and members of society and the criminal justice system usually assume the accused is guilty unless proven innocent.
When you are facing domestic violence accusations and charges, your life can be turned upside-down in an instant. Keep everything upright and stand up for your rights by relying on Springer & Steinberg, P.C. and our domestic violence attorneys in Denver. We believe in the importance of the presumption of innocence. Our attorneys can fight in or out of court to protect your rights and reputation!
Domestic Violence Penalties in Colorado
Colorado treats domestic violence charges similarly to the violent crime that allegedly occurred. For example, if you are accused of assaulting your spouse, then your charges and potential penalties will be handled like they would in an assault case.
Domestic Violence vs Assault
The difference between a domestic violence case and assault cause, though, is that domestic violence defendants can be sentenced to a domestic violence correction program. The program can be much like an anger management course that encourages conflict resolutions that do not rely on physical displays of force, like pushing or shouting. Failing to complete the correction program could bring further penalties.
What is an “Intimate Relationship” by Law?
In many states, domestic violence can technically occur between two people of varying relationships, making it easier to file domestic violence charges. In Colorado, though, the definition of an “intimate relationship” is much narrower than average.
You can only be charged with domestic violence if your accuser is a:
- Significant other
- Former significant other
- Parent of your child
Simply living with someone does not place you legally into an intimate relationship with them. For example, physical conflicts between roommates would only constitute an assault or battery charge, but not a domestic violence charge.
Probable Cause Requires an Arrest
When law enforcement agents respond to a domestic violence disturbance call and arrive on the scene, they are expected to make an arrest in most situations. If they have enough evidence to suggest probable cause of domestic violence against one party by the other, then the alleged offender will be arrested. In many cases, probable cause is merely the alleged victim claiming they were pushed or shoved by the other. An arrest is not necessary if both parties claim the other was the aggressor, though.
With this in mind, it is important to remember that being arrested is not the same as being charged with domestic violence. Being charged is also not the same as being arraigned, and that is not the same as being convicted. You have options to defend yourself after being arrested for domestic violence in Denver, even if the odds seem stacked against you.
False Domestic Violence Accusations & Divorce
Were you accused of domestic violence by your spouse seemingly out of the blue? Did you have an argument with them but nothing that would possibly constitute domestic violence?
You have to consider the possibility that your spouse is trying to gain leverage over you during any pending or current divorce proceedings. Colorado family law courts will be wary to assign child custody and alimony rights to anyone who has been accused and arrested for domestic violence, even if they have not been convicted. Your spouse might know as much and make intentionally false accusations against you to try to gain an advantage in your divorce or to spite you.
To protect yourself from false domestic violence accusations, the following can help:
- Character witnesses: The people who know you and your spouse closely can be the best benefit to your defense case. Neighbors, family members, coworkers, and others who can testify to your calm demeanor or loving relationship should be contacted. Let our attorneys know who we should call so we can improve your defense.
- Medical records: People who falsify domestic violence accusations sometimes take their lies too far and claim they were severely injured or struck by the offender. Yet there will be no medical evidence of their injury. Comparing their medical record – if it can be subpoenaed by our attorneys – to their reported injuries can help prove they have lied or exaggerated.
- Police statements: The police who responded to the domestic violence call should have a detailed report of what they saw, which hopefully includes your calm, collected responses to their inquiries.