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Domestic violence in Colorado what is it?

Recently on our divorce forum a husband asked, "I live in Colorado. I have been charged with domestic violence. Can you tell me more about what this charge means and what I can expect if I am found guilty?"

What is domestic violence in Colorado?

If you have been charged with domestic violence in the State of Colorado the first step is to understand how Colorado law defines domestic violence. Under C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(1) domestic violence is defined as "an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship." This act can include any crime which uses "coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship."

Domestic violence actions do not have be directed at a spouse but can include former spouses and individuals with whom you have had children, regardless of whether you are currently living with them or have ever lived with them in the past.

Do I have to physically assault someone to be charged with domestic violence?

A common misunderstanding is that you have to physically assault someone to be charged with domestic violence. This is not true. Physical violence is not necessary. Threatening someone, destroying their property, or using obscene language to harass someone may result in a criminal charge.

If you are arrested for domestic violence, which is likely if the police officer is called to your residence and has probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, a mandatory restraining order will also be enforced.

Can my wife decide to drop domestic violence charges?

Another misconception is that your wife or whomever made the original call to the police can simply decide to "drop the charges." Unfortunately, even if it was misunderstanding that led your wife to call the police, assuming the police decided to arrest you, a plea from your wife to the district attorney to not press charges will not be sufficient to force the district attorney to dismiss the case.

The district attorney will review the evidence and determine whether it is sufficient to win a case against you. The DA files charges, and the DA dismisses charges. If your wife decides not to testify it may make the case more difficult for the DA, but it does not force them to dismiss the case.

Steps after a domestic violence charge in Colorado?

So what do you do if you are arrested for domestic violence in Colorado? Keep quiet and ask to talk to your lawyer. Next, try to make bail or bond. If a restraining order has been filed it is important not to have ANY contact with the alleged victim.

Like other criminal charges, it's important to speak with a criminal defense attorney and make sure you have the best defense possible. If you are convicted of domestic violence you will not be able to own a firearm, and you may have difficulty finding employment.

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