If you are charged with domestic violence in Colorado, you face a very serious allegation with very serious consequences. The repercussions of a domestic violence conviction will affect your criminal record, current and future relationships with your significant other and children, and your reputation in the tight-knit Colorado Springs community.
When you are charged with domestic violence, you have a lot of questions that need clear answers. This article will address the most common questions and provide you with a deeper understanding of domestic violence law in Colorado.
What is domestic violence?
Under Colorado law, domestic violence (DV) is a threat or act of violence between two people in an intimate relationship. Understanding how and when a crime is considered domestic violence is essential when trying to fight any charges. The violence in question could be physical, control, coercion, intimidation, or punishment.
While there are many kinds of domestic violence cases, most fit into one of five categories.
- Battery – Battery is when the injury is the result of physical violence. This charge is typically a misdemeanor and is not severe enough to warrant a felony.
- Child Endangerment or Child Abuse – When a child is involved in a domestic violence dispute or close to an area where there is violence against another.
- Elder Abuse – Neglect, financial fraud, or physical or emotional abuse to a person over 70 years old.
- Corporal Injury to a Spouse – Evidence of physical violence is present (such as swelling or a bruise).
- Criminal Threats – Domestic violence doesn’t always mean physical harm has occurred. Threatening harm or serious injury to another person is also a form of domestic violence.
My partner and I have made up. Can my charges be dropped?
In a word, no. Under Colorado Law, charges for domestic violence come from prosecutors, not from the alleged victim. This means that even if you make up with your partner, even if they do not want to proceed with the process, the charges against you will remain. Once you are charged with domestic violence, the process is now in the hands of Colorado prosecutors, who adhere to a strict “no-drop” policy for these serious charges.
Can I go to jail if convicted of domestic violence?
Yes, serving time in jail is just one of the many potential penalties awaiting you if you are convicted of domestic violence in Colorado. The penalties for a conviction depend on the level of domestic violence charges you are facing. For a first-time DV conviction, jail time is often converted to 24 months of either supervised or unsupervised probation and mandatory domestic violence counseling. You may also need to perform community service and pay hefty fines.
However, if you are charged with domestic violence on multiple occasions, the consequences multiply with each charge, and mandatory jail time of one to three years is likely to be imposed upon you.
For more information on the potential punishments for domestic violence in Colorado, please read: Colorado Domestic Violence Charges – What Are The Penalties in Colorado?
How long will a domestic violence conviction be on my record in Colorado?
Your Colorado criminal record can reflect a conviction for domestic violence for the rest of your life. The only exception is if your domestic violence defense attorney can negotiate a deferred judgment on your behalf. In these cases, you agree to plead guilty to the charges and submit to counseling, probation, fines, and/or community service. Once you comply with all negotiated terms, and if there are no additional charges for domestic violence brought against you, you can petition the court to have your record sealed. But these terms must be established as part of your plea agreement, one of the many reasons you need to hire an experienced domestic violence defense attorney right away if you have been charged with domestic violence.
What if I am being falsely accused?
If the domestic violence charges against you are false, it is even more imperative that you seek the help of an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer immediately. Many people who have been falsely accused of a crime believe that the truth will come out in court, but that isn’t always the case. In a perfect world, a judge or jury could immediately determine who is telling the truth while on the witness stand, and false accusations would never lead to a conviction. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. An alleged victim can sway the court’s opinion, especially since most domestic violence cases are a he-said, she-said situation.
How can an attorney help me if I have been charged with domestic violence?
If you have been charged with domestic violence, even if you are innocent, the path ahead may be difficult. In all too many of these cases, the sad truth is that many people are inclined to believe the worst. Your siblings, parents, and even your own children may turn against you. You need to have the support of someone who believes in your innocence.
A domestic violence attorney can be a source of support in a challenging period in your life. Your attorney has seen many people in your shoes and knows what to do to help. Their guidance and support provide you with the best chance at successfully navigating this difficult situation and ensure that you end up with the best outcome possible.