A Denver man returned home to find his clothes on fire in his closet. He told police that he had returned home and smelled something burning in his bedroom. When he went to investigate, he found his girlfriend leaving the room and discovered several items in his closet had been burned. His girlfriend is facing charges of Criminal Mischief (C.R.S. 18-4-501) as an act of Domestic Violence (C.R.S. 18-6-801), also known as “DV”. She is fortunate to not be facing Arson (C.R.S. 18-4-101) charges. It is unclear at this time what reason the woman gave the Denver police for burning the clothes.
The problem with Domestic Violence related crimes in Colorado jurisdictions such as Adams, Broomfield, and Jefferson County is that the police rarely take into account what the reason for the alleged crime is. For example, most women (and frankly most men) I know believe they are perfectly justified in throwing their cheating boyfriend’s clothes out of the house or even possibly burning them. Perhaps it is not particularly rational, but who is acting rationally after finding out they’ve been cheated on? When it comes to domestic disputes, some anger is perfectly normal. But, these everyday situations can lead to catastrophic consequences when law enforcement gets involved.
Domestic violence in Colorado is not a separate charge, but rather a sentencing enhancer to crimes such as Criminal Mischief, Harassment, or Assault. In order to charge a crime as an act of domestic violence, police in Boulder, Centennial, or Fort Collins must believe there is an “intimate relationship” between the accused and the alleged victim. In fact, because Colorado’s DV statute is so skewed in favor of prosecuting these crimes, police are mandated to make an arrest in situations where they believe a crime has occurred, no matter any circumstances such as self defense, an attempt to recover property wrongfully taken, or cheating.
At the O’Malley Law Office, we have been handling Domestic Violence related crimes for many years, and we know how to navigate this complicated area of the law. It is difficult to make police and prosecutors see reason after they have charged these types of crimes. If you have been charged with Criminal Mischief or any other DV related crime in Douglas, Arapahoe, or Larimer County, we can help you. So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.