Domestic Violence in Colorado
People who are charged with a Domestic Violence offense in Colorado are usually charged with:
- Third-Degree Assault
The act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone anxious or fearful.
- False Imprisonment
Depriving someone of freedom of movement by holding a person in a confined space or by physical restraint including being locked in a car, driven about without opportunity to get out, being tied to a chair or locked in a closet.
- Violation of Restraining Order
A temporary order of a court to keep conditions as they are (like not taking a child out of the county or not selling marital property) until there can be a hearing in which both parties are present.
- Criminal Mischief
Domestic Violence is not, standing alone, a criminal charge. It is a label given to one of the charges listed above when there is (or was formerly) an intimate relationship between the people involved. In other words, a person can be charged with Third-Degree Assault, or they can be charged with Third-Degree Assault / Domestic Violence. In order for the prosecutor to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a Domestic Violence or "DV" offense, they must establish that you have, or have had, intimate relations with the "victim" in question.
If it is determined to be at Domestic Violence offense, this acts as a sentence enhancer, and will add additional terms to your probation such as 36 domestic violence classes (these are mandatory, and even the judge doesn't have the power to waive them). A conviction for a Domestic Violence offense can have far-reaching career implications, since several industries and professions will not hire those with a DV conviction on their record.
Just saying the phrase "Domestic Violence" creates an emotional response of some kind in most people, and in most jurors. Jurors watch the local and national news and hear horror stories of someone being killed by their spouse, and the phrase "Domestic Violence" is always included in the news story. However, those same jurors know that life is complex, and that it takes two people to create the situation that resulted in your criminal case. At trial, your criminal defense lawyer must be able to show the jury all of the facts that the prosecutor doesn't. The facts that help you.
Even when the alleged victim steps forward and admits that she wasn't assaulted - she is then labeled a "recanting victim," and the prosecuting attorney will nonetheless try to convict you. The prosecutor may have a Domestic Violence "expert" testify at your trial and say that every victim who now says it didn't happen is lying, and that this is a predictable part of what they call "the cycle of violence," - and the victim is now lying in order to protect you, the accused, at trial.
And yet, there are more false accusations in Domestic Violence cases than there are in any type of case I see. In the heat of an angry argument - one spouse feels powerless and futile, and realizes that there is power in picking up the telephone and calling 911. A skilled criminal trial lawyer will be able to:
- Dispel the bias that jurors may have when they first walk into the courtroom - convincing them to look fairly at all of the facts.
- Reveal the motives of the false accuser to the jury, and the circumstances that created enough anger to lie in order to use the court system to gain personal control over the other.
- Dispel the myth that only men commit acts of Domestic Violence.
- Attack the faulty claim made by the "Domestic Violence Expert" that a victim that is recanting her story can’t be trusted because it’s all part of "the cycle of violence."
I have defended hundreds of Domestic Violence cases just like yours here in Colorado. I have the experience necessary to reveal the truth during your criminal trial – and protect you from a false conviction that will effect your criminal record, your reputation, and most importantly, your freedom.
If there is evidence that shows that you were not at fault for the incident, it is important to preserve or record that information. If the police accuse you for the offense, and not your partner, they will frequently only collect information or evidence that makes you look guilty. It will likely be left up to you to help us preserve your defense case. For example, photographs of your injuries may be the only evidence that you acted in self-defense.
Many Domestic Violence cases are based on false accusations. It is common for the alleged victim to use the criminal justice system to gain leverage over their partner in the relationship. The motivation to lie may be driven by anger and frustration, jealousy, or a more specific agenda such as an on-going child custody battle.