If you were arrested on a domestic violence charge, you are probably confused and upset by what happened. In fact, you may be completely unaware of how you became the so-called aggressor in the situation. Whatever the circumstances may have been, the consequences of a domestic violence conviction are serious.
If the police are called to a domestic violence disturbance, it is a near certainty that someone will be arrested. At Castañeda Law, we defend present and former husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and others who have been charged with a domestic violence offense. We understand the seriousness of domestic violence, and we also understand that many people are wrongfully accused. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, contact us for a consultation.
Domestic violence laws vary from state to state. In Colorado, domestic violence is not a separate crime. Rather, it is a label that applies to certain crimes committed by one person against another person where the two are or were in an “intimate relationship.” The statute, CRS 18-6-800.3(2) goes on to define “intimate relationship” as one where the two people involved
It is not required that the people lived together at any time. And contrary to what you might think, evidence of a sexual relationship between the two people is not necessary in order to establish that an intimate relationship exists.
Crimes that may be labeled as domestic violence include any act of violence or threatened violence against the other person in the intimate relationship, as well as any other crime or ordinance violation against a person, an animal, or property, when that crime is used in order to coerce, control, punish, intimidate or take revenge against the other person in the relationship.
In essence, the domestic violence label is a sentence enhancer. CRS 18-6-801 says that in addition to any other sentence, anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense shall be required to complete a domestic violence offender management treatment evaluation and treatment program. The treatment requirement does not apply if you are sentenced to prison.
Finally, the statute contains restrictions on entering a guilty plea to an offense that does not contain the domestic violence designation; restrictions on eligibility for home detention; felony classification in the case of three or more previous domestic violence convictions; and restrictions on possession and purchase of firearms and ammunition.
Once you are arrested for a domestic violence offense, a mandatory restraining order, called a “protection order,” will be issued. It will prohibit you from harassing intimidating or retaliating against any witness in the case, and may preclude contact between you and the alleged victim, and/or require you to vacate the alleged victim’s home and stay away from his or her residence or any other place the person frequents. A violation of the order is a separate, and additional, criminal charge.
Are There Defenses to a Colorado Domestic Violence Charge?
Notwithstanding the penalties and the stigma of domestic violence, there are many defenses that can be raised. They include self-defense, the lack of any violence or other criminal act, and others. An investigation into the facts in the case may reveal, for example, any one of the following circumstances:
In addition, it may be that the designation “intimate relationship” does not apply to your relationship with the accuser. The fact that a sexual relationship is not required in order to fit within the definition does not mean that every relationship, no matter how casual, is an intimate relationship within the meaning of the statute.
These are some examples of how you may be able to defend against a domestic violence charge.
While potential defenses may exist in your case, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney in order to ensure that the facts are investigated and developed, and that the defenses are properly presented. Colorado has a “no drop” policy that even precludes the complaining witness from dropping the case against you. So even in questionable cases, you still may have to go to trial.
Dealing with the criminal charges, attempting to vacate a protection order, and trying to go forward with your life is not easy. The attorneys at Castañeda Law know what you’re going through, and with our firm on your side, you don’t have to bear the burden alone. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, contact us for the legal help you need.
Call (303) 386-7135 for a consultation