Accusations of domestic violence are serious – and they are taken seriously by law enforcement, as well as prosecutors, in the state of Colorado. If you have been arrested or accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you hire counsel. It is also important that you understand the laws regarding domestic violence, so that you can better assist your criminal defense attorney, as well as understand the process behind your investigation.
Domestic Violence Can Include Threats
While most domestic violence cases do include actual physical events, you can be arrested for domestic violence by threatening an act of violence upon someone with whom you have had an intimate relationship. You can also be arrested for domestic violence for acts that are meant to coerce, control, punish, intimidate a partner.
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The State Employs Mandatory Arrest Laws
In Colorado, there is no such thing as police officer discretion. Instead, officers are required by law to arrest those accused of domestic violence. The legislature has decided that this must be done without delay – meaning that if the accused is present, the officer must arrest him or her immediately. In addition, the arrestee is then booked into jail and cannot be given a bond until the victim has been informed of the bond hearing, and given an opportunity to be heard during that hearing.
Victims Cannot Drop Charges
Even if the victim no longer wishes to pursue the case, the victim cannot drop the charges after the state has decided to go forward with the case. Only the district attorney who is prosecuting the case can dismiss the charges.
Domestic Violence Cases Are Considered Victims’ Rights Cases
Under Colorado law, there are some crimes deemed as “victim’s rights” cases – and domestic violence is one of them. This means that the victim will have rights in this case, including consulting with the district attorney before offers are made. He or she also has the right to speak at sentencing, and be notified if the defendant will be released from incarceration.
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Some Domestic Violence Cases Can Become Felonies
While most domestic violence cases are charged as misdemeanors, there are instances where they can turn into felony charges. In Colorado, you can be charged with a felony if you have already been convicted three times prior of acts of domestic violence. This is because you are then considered a habitual offender, and your misdemeanor will then be enhanced to a Class Five Felony. If you are found to be a habitual offender, you could face one to three years in prison.
Do Not Defend Yourself, Contact Christian A. Schwaner, P.C.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, it is imperative that you hire an attorney right away. As a former prosecutor, I understand the social and legal pressures that the district attorney faces in domestic violence cases. Contact me today to explore options within your case by calling 719-577-9700 or filling out our online contact form with your questions.