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Woman Gets 20 Years in Domestic Violence Dispute: C.R.S. 18-6-801

Denver Domestic Violence Attorney

In a gross miscarriage of justice, a Florida woman without a criminal record was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun at a wall during a Domestic Violence dispute where she believed her life to be in danger. This case comes as one of the first challenges to Florida's hotly-disputed "Stand Your Ground" Law, as this woman raised a self-defense claim under this law and it was rejected by a judge. Additionally, this case illustrates the rigidity of Florida's mandatory sentencing structure, which gives judges no discretion in the amount of time they give people convicted of certain gun-related crimes. While Colorado jurisdictions such as Adams and Denver County do not have such a rigid mandatory minimum sentence structure, this case exemplifies a few pitfalls that are common to all criminal cases, including those in Colorado.

Douglas County Self Defense Affirmative Defense

First, a claim of self-defense in Douglas, Arapahoe, or Jefferson County can be powerful, and is a complete defense to culpability under the law. However, especially in domestic violence cases where both parties are involved in an argument, it can be difficult to establish a claim of self-defense without the help of an experienced attorney.

Sentencing in Arapahoe County

Second, state legislatures sometimes take sentencing discretion out of a judge's hands. Given the fickle will of the general populace at any given moment, the Colorado legislature may decide to punish a certain group of those accused with crimes more harshly than others. In Colorado, at this moment in history, this is especially true of sex offenses, many of which require Indeterminate Sentencing (C.R.S. 18-1.3-1003).

Jefferson County DV Defense Lawyer: Plea Bargains 

Third, this case illustrates the riskiness of plea-bargaining. This woman was offered a plea deal that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence instead of 20, but she decided to go to trial. Most qualified Colorado defense attorneys will tell you that they would strongly advise their clients against this kind of gamble (especially after her Stand Your Ground claim was thrown out). When there is a risk of a mandatory minimum 20 year sentence, it is difficult to understand why this woman risked 17 years of her life by placing her fate in the hands of a jury.

If you have been accused of a crime after defending yourself during a domestic dispute, you absolutely need an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney in your corner. The consequences of domestic violence sentencing can be life shattering, especially if you were defending yourself against your partner's life threatening behavior. At the O'Malley Law Office, we have successfully destroyed criminal charges by crafting powerful self-defense arguments. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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