What Exactly Is Domestic Violence In Colorado?

In Colorado, you can be convicted of domestic violence if you are proven to have committed a crime or threat against a person with whom you are or were involved in an intimate relationship, so it’s important to have a well-versed domestic violence attorney if you’ve been charged.

Domestic violence is not a specific crime in itself; it does, however, enhance the penalties for any crime committed within the context of a domestic relationship or family when the intention is to threaten, control, punish, or intimidate the other party:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse
  • A person you currently or formerly lived with or dated, whether of the same sex or different sexes, regardless of whether the relationship was sexual
  • The other parent of your child, whether or not you’ve ever lived together

What Does the Law Say

First, it’s important to know what Colorado law considers domestic violence. C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(1) defines domestic violence as:

“an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. “Domestic violence” also includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, 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.”

What Do I Do if I’m Arrested for Domestic Violence Near Colorado Springs:

  1. Exercise your right to remain silent. Emotions are high during domestic violence incidents – and sometimes things that are exaggerated, untrue, or harmful to your case may be said in the heat of the moment.
  2. The best thing you can do is stay quiet until you call us and arrange a discussion with an experienced domestic violence attorney. We can advise you
  3. Do not sign anything, agree to any deals, or admit to anything until you’ve talked to us. Make sure you’re clear with everyone that you’ve contacted an attorney and are waiting to speak with them.
  4. Write down what happened in your own words but keep it private and to yourself. This can help you avoid being accused of “changing stories” as the process goes on. Share it with us when we meet so we can make sure to document all the facts of the case.
  5. Domestic violence cases have been given “fast track” status in Colorado, so it’s important that you call an attorney right away so you have representation at your very first hearing – because you’ll be expected to enter a plea at that first hearing.

Lawyer in Colorado shaking hands with a domestic violence client


Domestic Violence is Very Serious but Also Very Complex

We’ve all seen it a few too many times. A partner, fueled by anger, resentment, jealousy, or other strong emotions can make false allegations of domestic violence resulting in an arrest and a charge of domestic violence. It’s also common to see domestic violence charges in situations where the partners were simply arguing a little too loud. Either way, a domestic violence charge in Colorado is very serious and must be dealt with efficiently and professionally by the best Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer for your particular case. If not, it could result in not only prison time, but other life-altering consequences. Therefore it is very important to obtain a domestic violence defense team or attorney to assist in the court proceedings. This will give the charged individual the best chance at pleading their case and having the charges dismissed. An experienced domestic violence attorney, like Steven Rodemer, will be able to collect evidence to refute any DV claims, as well as defend your character and rights in and out of court.

Intimate Relationship, Defined

An intimate relationship is defined in C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(2) as: “a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.”

Keep in mind that domestic abuse is not a crime itself; rather it’s a sentencing enhancer that can be attached to nearly any other crime. Moreover, you don’t necessarily need to subject someone to physical contact to be charged with domestic violence. Breaking property, threatening someone, texting or calling repeatedly, or even using obscene language can result in a charge.

What’s worse is that Colorado is considered a mandatory arrest state in cases of domestic violence. Pursuant to C.R.S. 18-6-803.6, when a peace officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that a crime or offense involving domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), has been committed, the officer shall, without undue delay, arrest the person suspected of its commission pursuant to the provisions in subsection. Basically, you need to know, if police are called, someone is going to jail. If you are contacted by police and believe you may be arrested, don’t make any statement. You have the right to remain silent and use it.

How Are Colorado Domestic Violence Charges Different?

  1. In Colorado, domestic violence allegations are handled differently from other types of accusations in several ways. For one, an arrest is mandatory whenever the police are called out on a domestic violence charge. In most other cases, a police officer can exercise a certain amount of discretion. Not so in accusations of domestic violence. If the slightest probable cause exists, the accused must be arrested on the spot, jailed, and is not allowed to post bond until the alleged victim is informed and allowed to be heard.
  2. The accuser can’t decide to withdraw the accusation after it has been made to police, and the mandatory arrest rule still applies. The state can prosecute regardless of the desire of the alleged victim to pursue the matter.
  3. The alleged victim has special rights in a domestic violence case and has the right to speak at sentencing and to be informed when the defendant is to be released. This can give the accuser significant power over the outcome for the accused.

Domestic violence in Colorado is not an individual charge. It is considered an aggravator or a sentencing enhancement. Therefore a DV charge can be added to another charge like assault, and it will increase the punishment for any offense that is committed against a family member, spouse, or partner.

In Colorado, domestic violence is a mandatory arrest. This means that if the police have reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual has committed domestic violence, they must arrest that individual. There is no way around this arrest, as even victims cannot recant their statements or drop charges. Once domestic violence comes into play, the state takes over and charges the individual. This is put into place to that abusers cannot threaten or gaslight their victims into dropping domestic violence charges. The state will have to determine whether or not it is acceptable to charge the accused individual or to dismiss the case. Colorado has a domestic violence case dismissal rate of around 30%.

Different types of domestic violence or abuse can include, but are not limited to:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Stalking
  • Technological abuse

close up image of handcuffs on a table in Colorado Springs

Mandatory Restraining Order Upon Domestic Violence Arrest in Colorado

Once someone is arrested for domestic violence, a mandatory restraining order enters. That means that you cannot have contact with the named victim(s) during the period of the restraining order. It’s a separate criminal charge if you do. Also, third party contact counts, so don’t call the victim’s best friend and ask them to contact the victim.

One of the biggest misconceptions about domestic violence cases is that the victim can simply “drop” the charges. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Colorado law says that a prosecutor cannot drop domestic violence charges unless they believe it would be impossible to prove the case at trial. This “no-drop” prosecution policy means that the victim can tell the DA to dismiss the case until they are blue in the face, but the DA isn’t allowed (not that they would anyway). So don’t think that because you and your significant other made up and they want the case dismissed that it will be.

What Are The Penalties If Convicted Of Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado?

Domestic violence is considered a charge enhancement in Colorado. Therefore the punishment depends on the original charge. If an individual slaps their spouse, they will be charged with assault as an act of domestic violence. If they slapped a neighbor or a random person, the charge would simply just be assault.

That being said, the judge will be the ultimate deciding factor. They can request that the defendant complete a treatment program, or even extend the protection order. In Colorado, a protection order can last up to a year if it is temporary, or it can be permanently placed depending upon what the judge sees fit in the individual circumstance.

When an individual receives their fourth DV conviction, they will be charged with a class 5 felony and required to:

  • Spend 1-3 years in prison
  • Pay a fine of up to $100,000

It’s important to keep in mind that these charges will label the individual as a habitual domestic violence offender, and will be added to the initial charges that spurred the DV enhancement.

Domestic violence convictions do not only have legal consequences, but they can affect various aspects of the rest of the convicted offender’s life such as:

  • Jail time
  • Fines and court cost
  • Domestic violence treatment for an indefinite period, along with psychiatric, anger management, and substance abuse treatment period, at your expense
  • A mandatory order of protection order that will remain in effect until your sentence is completed
  • Involvement of child protective services (DHS/CPS) in divorce proceedings
  • Involuntarily discharge from the military
  • Loss of military benefits
  • Loss of custody of your children
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Any professional licenses the individual has
  • Inability to visit your children without supervision, which is at your expense
  • Inability to qualify for public housing or other public assistance
  • Difficulty obtaining housing
  • Inability to obtain student loans
  • Disqualification for public office or government jobs
  • Loss of Second Amendment gun rights and hunting privileges
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Deportation, if non- US citizen
  • Much much more

Being arrested for domestic violence can be a nightmare. Things like mandatory arrest laws, mandatory no-contact orders, criminal charges and the stigma of being a batterer, are all common and unforeseen. These penalties are not only serious, they are life-altering. That is why it is so important to get a head start on domestic violence enhancement charges by hiring a reputable criminal defense lawyer near you to help work on getting charges dismissed. They know exactly what to do in domestic violence cases, and will use all evidence and testimonies to favor the defendant, instead of the alleged victim.

You Need A Domestic Violence Attorney

Because the consequences are so dire, you cannot afford to take the risk of facing a domestic violence charge without an experienced criminal defense lawyer. In Monument and Colorado Springs, Steven Rodemer is an effective and highly regarded domestic abuse attorney and former prosecutor who has a stellar track record of successfully defending against accusations of these serious crimes.

Family violence is an area rife with potential for false allegations when emotions are running high, complicated by the fact that even if your accuser has second thoughts, there is no possibility of retraction and your arrest is mandatory. At the Rodemer Law Offices, we conduct a thorough investigation and look into possible motivations for a false accusation as well as other possible defenses, such as self-defense of insufficient proof of abuse.

Steven Rodemer is an experienced criminal defense attorney with a knowledgeable and dedicated team of attorneys. Not only will we fight for your rights, but we will also help gather evidence, submit all necessary paperwork on time, and constantly communicate with you to keep you up to speed on what is happening with your case. We know how serious the consequences of domestic violence charges can be, especially when you are accused of false pretenses.

Resist the temptation to use a public defender, who has such an overwhelmingly large caseload that he or she will have little time to devote to your defense. Call Steve Rodemer immediately for your best shot at an outcome that will preserve your freedom, your assets, and your prospects for the future.

How To Find The Right Domestic Violence Lawyer Near You

You could be depriving yourself of your freedom and potentially suffering lifelong consequences if you handle a criminal charge on your own or hire a lawyer without extensive experience and a solid track record. Hiring a cheap attorney could cost you years of your life, as well as a lot of damage to your future. In the event that you have been charged with a crime with a domestic violence enhancement, it is crucial to choose a skilled criminal lawyer.

Look for former district attorneys, as they know the ins and outs of the DA’s office like no other attorney could. Look for an assault attorney who has a proven track record of taking these cases to trial and winning. There are so many attorneys who haven’t been in front of a jury since they were wearing a polyester suit to court. While your case may not need to go to trial, DA’s know what defense attorneys regularly going to trial and win, and those who take a plea on every case. Obviously, the attorneys who win at trial get a better offer than those who take a deal on every case. You have way too much riding on this case to let an attorney who doesn’t know what they’re doing handle it, or worse yet, trying to handle it on your own. A domestic violence conviction will prevent you from owning a firearm under the Lautenberg Amendment, which can impact the possibility of future employment and it will follow you for your whole life. If you are in the military, contact a qualified military criminal defense lawyer near you with an understanding of military law can make all the difference in your case.

Facing a Colorado parole violation? Contact our office to speak with a Colorado parole violation attorney today!