While a domestic violence charge should not be taken lightly, there is hope for those facing such charges. An understanding of Colorado’s domestic violence laws and a consultation with a criminal defense attorney can help you understand the possible penalties you may be facing and viable defenses to the charges against you.
How Does Colorado Define Domestic Violence?
To begin, anyone facing charges related to domestic violence in Colorado should understand that this type of charge does not necessarily stand by itself. Rather, domestic violence can be attached to other charges if the circumstances warrant. For example, if an individual commits assault, yet the action can also be considered domestic violence because the act of assault is committed against someone with whom the defendant has an intimate relationship, they will ultimately face charges for assault/domestic violence, which carries enhanced penalties.
Ultimately, in order to be convicted on charges of domestic violence, the prosecution must show that the actions of the accused fall within the parameters set forth in the law. Specifically, Colorado law considers domestic violence any “act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” The law continues on to define an intimate relationship as one involving any of the members of the following list:
- Current or former spouse;
- Past or present unmarried couple; and
- Individuals who are both the parents of the same child, regardless of whether or not they have been married or lived together.
These definitions are extremely important. Unless the prosecution can prove that an act of violence was committed against someone with whom the accused has an intimate relationship, the enhancement of domestic violence must be dropped. Furthermore, the prosecution must also prove that the underlying criminal act occurred. This can be one of the most important defenses to a domestic violence charge. If you are facing domestic violence charges involving a person with whom you do not or did not maintain an intimate relationship, procuring evidence of this fact will be essential to ensuring a successful outcome in your case.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Colorado?
Charges of domestic violence in Colorado are extremely serious, and as such, the penalties can be severe as well. For one, anyone convicted of domestic violence will first need to consider the penalties for the associated charge. Consider, for example, an individual who is convicted of third-degree assault/domestic violence. Third-degree assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado, which carries penalties of six to 24 months behind bars, as well as a fine of between $500 and $5,000. In addition, as a result of the charges of domestic violence, the same individual will likely be required to complete a domestic violence treatment program, may be placed on house arrest for a period of time if their home is not the same as the victim’s, and may be prevented from purchasing or owning a gun.
If you are not sentenced to prison, you will likely be ordered to participate in a domestic violence treatment program. Consider that if you are a habitual offender, which means that you have already been convicted of domestic violence in the past, you can be charged with a Class 5 felony. While a typical Class 5 felony charge would carry a penalty of between one and three years of imprisonment, the presumptive sentencing for both violent crimes and habitual offenders is affected. As such, a Class 5 felony charge for a domestic violence habitual offender carries a penalty of between two-to-six years behind bars.
Let an Attorney Help You with Your Case
The best way to defend yourself against domestic violence charges in Colorado is to work with an experienced criminal attorney. Our lawyers provide aggressive legal representation. Call us now at 719-473-9099 or visit our office today to begin crafting your legal defense to ensure that your best interests are fully protected.