An Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Explains Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Protect Your Rights If You Face Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
If you have domestic violence charges in Colorado, you probably realize you should consider hiring a domestic violence defense attorney to help you. However, you may be worried about the expense of hiring a domestic violence defense lawyer if you were forced to leave your house, your possessions, and your family behind because of the charges.
You might feel like you must choose between representing yourself, asking for the public defender, or hiring a lawyer who quotes you a low fee. It is understandable if you do not know what you should do.
You could lose your family, freedom, and way of life when facing domestic violence charges. No amount of money could replace losing any of those things we hold dear.
The best way to reduce the impact domestic violence charges have on your life is to hire a highly experienced and knowledgeable former prosecutor to be your domestic violence defense attorney.
What You Should Know About the Cost of a Domestic Violence Charge in Colorado
The expense of hiring a criminal defense lawyer is a legitimate concern for most people who face domestic violence charges. As you weigh your options, you should have a solid understanding of how Colorado’s domestic violence laws work and how a conviction of those charges will affect your life.
Most lawyers will evaluate your case and quote you a fee based on the severity of the charges, the likelihood of resolving the case without a trial, and how much work the lawyer must devote to your case to achieve a just outcome for you.
What Are Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado?
Domestic violence charges in Colorado encompass a large number of criminal offenses. However, they are not a category of charges themselves. Rather, the prosecutor can seek to add a domestic violence enhancement to your charges if the relationship between you and the alleged victim meets the definition of an intimate partnership.
In Colorado, any two people who are or were significant others, spouses, or have a child in common, even if they do not live together, are in an intimate relationship. People who engaged in a sexual relationship may also qualify as intimate partners; however, the existence of an intimate partnership does not solely depend on sexual relations.
The possible punishment you face increases significantly if the prosecutor brings charges against you with the domestic violence enhancement. Therefore, you face the maximum penalty for the underlying charge and additional conditions for domestic violence such as:
- Automatic protection order during the case;
- Probation with mandatory treatment and counseling;
- House arrest;
- Loss of right to keep and bear firearms; and
- Habitual offender designation.
The habitual offender designation is a separate charge that the prosecutor could tack onto your original sentence if you have three domestic violence convictions.
The convictions do not have to be with the same victim. If you lose your domestic violence case and are a habitual offender, you face a Class 5 felony. The mandatory parole term for a Class 5 felony is years parole that you must serve after your prison term for the underlying charge.
Violating the automatic protective order is a crime as well. Violating a protective order is a Class 2 misdemeanor if it is your first offense. You could spend a year in jail and receive a $250 fine if you violate the protective order. However, you could receive as much as 18 months in jail along with a $500 fine if you have a prior conviction for violating a protective order.
Charges Commonly Associated with Domestic Violence Enhancements
Each of the criminal offenses that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence carries significant jail time as well as other harsh consequences that can unravel your life quickly. However, some domestic violence charges are more serious than others. Examples of domestic violence charges are:
- Criminal mischief,
- False imprisonment or kidnapping,
- Abuse of an elder,
- Unlawful sexual contact,
- Child abuse,
- Stalking under “Vonnie’s Law,” and
- Criminal harassment.
These are just examples of criminal offenses often subject to domestic violence enhancements. In reality, the prosecution can add a domestic violence enhancement to any crime.
A conviction for any one of these charges could result in jail or prison time in addition to the domestic violence enhancements. Moreover, you need to understand that aggravating factors could also increase the penalty you face.
Pregnancy is a common aggravating factor in a domestic violence case. As a consequence, misdemeanor assault could become a felony if the alleged victim is pregnant when the alleged assault took place.
Cost Does Not Equal Price
The cost of representation by a well-trained and highly experienced domestic violence lawyer is low when you compare it to the value of the things you stand to lose. Do not think of a price tag when considering which lawyer you should speak to about your Colorado domestic violence charges. Instead, think of the value you will get for your money.
Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorney Austin Lux of The Lux Law Firm is a former prosecutor who knows the Colorado justice system well. As your domestic violence defense lawyer, he will use all his knowledge, experience, and resources, as well as his sterling reputation with prosecutors and judges alike, to achieve justice for you. In the end, justice has no price.