Under C.R.S. 18-6-800.3, Domestic Violence crimes are serious, with far reaching consequences if found guilty. Here are six things anyone charged with Domestic Violence should know before taking a guilty plea in Denver or Arapahoe County, or anywhere in Colorado.
1) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN BE APPLIED TO MANY CRIMES
Domestic Violence is not a stand-alone crime. It is a classification of crimes and is used as an enhancer when it comes to sentencing. Domestic Violence is any act of violence against another person, where the accused is or has ever been in an intimate relationship with the victim.
2) INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS ARE DEFINED BROADLY
In order for a crime to qualify as Domestic Violence in Jefferson County, the prosecutor must show there was an intimate relationship between the defendant and the victim. Intimate relationships are defined as spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or people who have children together. Prosecutors use a liberal definition of what qualifies as a couple. A sexual relationship is no longer necessary to qualify as an intimate relationship.
3) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES CAN BE FILED IN MUNICIPAL COURTS
Municipalities such as Littleton, Aurora, or Westminster can prosecute Domestic Violence crimes. It is important to note that Domestic Violence convictions in municipal courts count toward the habitual Domestic Violence offender statute and can bump a misdemeanor to a felony if a person has been convicted three times before.
4) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DOES NOT ALWAYS INVOLVE STRIKING ANOTHER PERSON
An Adams County, Colorado housewife can be charged with Domestic Violence by breaking dishes if she is trying to control, punish, intimidate, or get revenge on her deadbeat husband. We have seen cases where clients think that just because they destroyed their own property they have not committed a crime. This is wrong.
5) IF POLICE ARE CALLED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SOMEONE IS GOING TO JAIL
Our Colorado legislators have stripped law enforcement officer from applying common sense when it comes to Domestic Violence. That means if, in the heat of an argument, a Douglas County woman calls the police and tells them her boyfriend intimidated her by yelling, if the police show up, they must make an arrest. This is true even if she does not want to press charges. Unfortunately, mandatory arrest procedures have had a boomerang effect because victims of crimes may hesitate to call police if they do not want a spouse to get arrested.
6) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS HAVE HUGE CONSEQUENSES
Federal and Colorado laws prohibit people with Domestic Violence convictions from possessing firearms. Furthermore, those who are granted probation will be required to take mandatory classes regulated by the Colorado Domestic Violence Management Board. This board is similar to the Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board and it gives them a tremendous amount of control over a person while on probation.
Charges of Domestic Violence are serious and the consequences remain with you throughout your lifetime. That is why you need an experienced attorney to work with you. If you are charged with a Domestic Violence crime remember to be smart, exercise you right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.