Intimate Relationship - Sex Not Required

Colorado Supreme Court "Sex Not Required for Intimate Relationship"

For many years, defense attorneys and prosecutors (District Attorneys) in Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson County agreed that for purposes of Domestic Violence laws, "Intimate Relationship", C.R.S. 18-6-800.3, required a sexual component. No one considered charging crimes as Domestic Violence without sex. Now, hand holding, kissing, and even a wink of the eye can qualify a couple as having had an Intimate Relationship.

Domestic Violence ("DV") is not a separate crime by itself. It is a label attached to any other crime like Assault or Harassment in Denver, Adams and Broomfield County where the couple has had an Intimate Relationship, and where the person charged has committed or threatened an act of violence (not really just "violence" - keep reading). If not violent, DV can be any crime where the actor has done something as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation or revenge. This broad list includes just about any crime or conduct directed at another with whom a person has had an intimate relationship - which is why the definition of "Intimate Relationship" has always been so important.

The DV statute defines an "Intimate Relationship" as: one "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." § 18-6-800.3(2). The Supreme Court has now broadened the definition, saying that "intimacy" is much broader than just sexual involvement.

The Supreme Court held that in Colorado, "When determining if a relationship falls within the category of intimate relationships a court may take into account the following three factors: (1) the length of time the relationship has existed, or did exist; (2) the nature or type of the relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties. These factors are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the characteristics a court may consider; they are a guide that may be used in whole or in part. However, an intimate relationship should not include mere social or business acquaintances and friends." People v. Disher, 224 P.3d 25 (Colo. 2010).

Now we have a mess. What used to be a simple to understand criteria for intimacy, has exploded into a controversial argument to the judge or jury regarding these new three factors. The DA will press for intimacy and defense attorneys will argue against. After all, how does a jury determine whether a relationship is "mere social" or "business acquaintances" where sex was involved? These days, don't couples have sex for different reasons? When courts change the law instead of the legislature, unanticipated complications often arise.

Domestic violence cases are now much more complicated, and that can be used to your benefit.  You need an attorney who understands this new law and the potential benefits to your case.  So, if contacted by police for domestic violence allegations, be smart, exercise your right remain silent, and call the experienced DV attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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