Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Being charged with a domestic violence offense can send you into a panic. Wondering what the consequences will be and how you can defend yourself when facing domestic violence charges is stressful and upsetting. Understanding the charges against you and knowing what might happen can help to reduce some of your anxiety about the unknown. We have been on the prosecution side in these domestic violence cases in the past, so our attorneys understand how prosecutors think and can help you build a solid defense. The skilled and compassionate Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorneys at Lux Law Firm, PLLC are here to help. Call our Colorado Springs office today at 719-451-7469.
What Qualifies as Domestic Violence in Colorado?
With Domestic Violence, Colorado law defines domestic violence as an act of violence or threat of violence by a current or past intimate partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse) against people, pets, and/or property. Domestic violence is not treated as a crime in itself in Colorado but is a sentencing enhancement or aggravator. In other words, the domestic violence charge is something that is added to another criminal charge when intimate partners are involved and increases the punishment for the crime if the perpetrator is convicted. For example, a person who assaults an intimate partner will be charged with both assault and domestic violence, while a person who assaults a person they are not in an intimate relationship with would only be charged with assault.
Crimes that are often subject to domestic violence enhancement:
- child abuse
- sexual misconduct
- elder abuse
- false imprisonment
- violating a restraining order
It is important to understand that the domestic violence enhancement can be added to any criminal charge in Colorado. Not all domestic violence is physical; financial abuse, technological abuse, coercion (making someone do something they don’t want to do), and emotional abuse are included in a domestic violence accusation, as well, among other abusive or violent behavior.
Defining Felony Domestic Violence in Colorado
In most situations, a domestic violence offense will be charged as a misdemeanor in Colorado. However, it can escalate to a felony if any of the below circumstances are present:
- The victim suffered serious bodily injury.
- The victim suffered sexual assault.
- Physical harm or sexual assault occurred to a minor.
- The defendant has had previous convictions of domestic violence or other crimes.
What if the Victim Doesn’t Press Charges?
Colorado is what is known as a mandatory arrest state, meaning that police must arrest anyone they have probable cause to believe has committed domestic violence, even if the alleged victim changes their story or decides not to press charges. The prosecution may have enough evidence of the domestic violence to go ahead even if the alleged victim recants, such as video evidence or eyewitness testimony. The only way that a domestic violence charge will be dropped is if the prosecutors decide they don’t have a strong enough domestic violence case and can’t prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to drop domestic violence cases, the prosecutor must state under oath that there is not enough evidence to prove the guilt of the defendant.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Colorado?
There are certainly consequences to a domestic violence conviction outside the courts, such as damage to reputation, difficulty getting or keeping a job, and disruption to family relationships. Beyond these difficulties, the courts may impose punishments as well.
When a person is arrested with a domestic violence charge, an order for protection is immediately put into place for the alleged victim(s), whether or not they press charges. During the period of the restraining order, the defendant may not drink alcohol, must avoid the accuser, and will usually be required to surrender all firearms to law enforcement, a dealer, or a private party.
If convicted, the punishment will depend on the underlying charge, since domestic violence is an enhancement to another criminal charge in Colorado, rather than a separate charge on its own. The judge may decide to extend the restraining order and can order the defendant into a domestic violence treatment program. If the defendant has multiple convictions including domestic violence, they may be deemed a habitual domestic abuser, which is a class 5 felony. In the case of a habitual domestic violence offender, the defendant may have a period of incarceration and a hefty fine added to the sentence for the underlying crime involving domestic violence. If the defendant is convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, they will lose gun rights permanently. If the conviction is for a non-violent misdemeanor, however, gun rights may be restored when the restraining order is lifted. For immigrants to the United States, a domestic violence conviction may lead to deportation. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from The Lux Law Firm can help you to craft a defense strategy and provide an immense knowledge of Colorado domestic violence laws that gives you the best chance of protecting your future. Call us today at 719-451-7469.
Is There Any Way to Clear My Record if I Have Been Convicted of Domestic Violence Charges?
If your Colorado domestic violence case is dismissed, your record can be sealed immediately. If you are convicted, however, your record can be sealed only if your case was tried in municipal court, and only after a three-year waiting period with no additional domestic violence charges. If your domestic abuse case was tried in non-municipal court and you were convicted, there is no way to seal your record or expunge the charge. It will remain on your record indefinitely.
How Can a Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Help Me?
The defense attorneys in Colorado Springs have defended many clients against domestic violence charges. We know how prosecutors work, and we have the skill and experience to help you fight the underlying charges, which is the best way to help you fight the domestic violence charge. We know how to build a solid defense strategy, and we will be beside you in court to help you defend yourself. The accomplished criminal defense attorneys are here to defend you with the knowledge and legal savvy that only come with years of experience. Call us today at 719-451-7469.