Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Colorado?
If someone has been charged with domestic violence in Colorado, the charge cannot be dropped. Colorado domestic violence laws are very strict, and the State will typically try to prosecute accused individuals to the fullest extent of the law.
That’s why it is critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights if you’ve been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in Colorado. The State typically takes an unforgiving stance toward these types of offenses, so you must mount a convincing defense right away.
When someone has been arrested for domestic violence in Colorado, the law limits the discretion of the police, prosecutors, and judges in domestic violence cases to achieve uniformity in the handling of the case.
Sometimes individuals that have been wrongly accused of domestic violence have to face the same burdensome consequences as a guilty offender. Former prosecutor Christian A. Schwaner understands this, and he is here to help you fight the charges you face and protect you from the harmful consequences of a conviction. Read more below to learn about domestic violence charges in Colorado and your rights.
Colorado Laws and Domestic Violence
Colorado Revised Statutes 18-6-800.3(1) defines domestic violence as:
“an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. “Domestic violence” also includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.”
An intimate relationship is defined in C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(2) as:
“a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.”
Mandatory Arrests in Colorado
Colorado is a mandatory arrest state. If an officer has probable cause to believe that an offense of domestic violence was committed, they must arrest the alleged offender, even if the victim does not want them to be arrested. This is a serious consequence for the person who has been accused of domestic violence.
After the arrest, the state prosecutor files the domestic violence charge. The prosecutor is prevented from dismissing(dropping) a domestic violence charge, even if the victim does not want to pursue the charge.
The Colorado Victims’ Rights Act requires that the prosecutor consult with the victim about how to handle a case; however, even if the victim wants the prosecutor to drop the case, the prosecutor is unable to do so. There is one exception that allows a prosecutor to dismiss a domestic violence charge. The prosecutor can dismiss a charge only if the prosecutor tells the judge that they are unable to prove that domestic violence occurred.
Judges are not allowed to exercise full discretion in the punishment phase of a domestic violence case. In all domestic violence cases, even the very minor cases, judges must impose an expensive and difficult evaluation and treatment that is supervised by a probation officer.
Colorado has enacted these strict domestic violence laws to prevent an abuse of discretion by prosecutors and judges who in the past at times dismissed cases for reasons not related to the legalities of the case. Examples would be requests to drop the charges made by influential people, or victims that are afraid to pursue charges because they live with the offender. These strict laws are necessary to protect victims; however, these strict laws sometimes bring about serious consequences to innocent defendants and minor offenders.
How to Defend Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges
What can an individual do if he/she has been charged with domestic violence and believes the charges should be dropped? As we mentioned, a prosecutor can only drop a domestic violence charge if the prosecutor tells the judge that there is not enough evidence to prove that the offense occurred.
A good criminal lawyer can negotiate with a prosecutor by pointing out the weaknesses in the case. In order to determine the weaknesses of the case, the lawyer will have to conduct a thorough investigation, interview witnesses, and have a good understanding of Colorado domestic violence laws. Another option is a trial by a Colorado jury. An experienced attorney can point out to the jury the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, and the jury will ultimately decide if the charge was worthwhile pursuing. The jury trial option is especially useful if the victim does not want to pursue the charge.
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence in Colorado, attorney Christian A. Schwaner is ready to help you. When serious allegations have been leveled against you, you need an attorney who knows how the laws work In Colorado and knows how the prosecution will approach the case. With this knowledge in hand, Colorado domestic violence defense lawyer Christian A. Schwaner will fight aggressively to protect your freedom and your right to remain with your family.
Keep in mind that domestic violence charges cannot be dropped in Colorado, so it is imperative that you hire an attorney to build a convincing case on your behalf. Time is of the essence with these types of charges, so don’t wait until it is too late to tell your story and defend yourself.
Don’t let these allegations ruin your life. Contact the law office of Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. at (713) 577-9700 or fill out a form on our contact page to schedule a 100% confidential consultation with us today to discuss your case.