Being charged with a domestic violence crime is a very big deal.
In Colorado, if the police are called on a domestic violence allegation, you will be arrested, no questions asked. Once that phone call to 911 is made, there is no turning back, even if the accuser quickly changes his or her mind. You will be arrested and you will have to fight the charges, which can be costly, time consuming and frightening.
“Domestic Violence” is not a separate crime in Colorado. Rather, Domestic Violence is “sentence enhancer” meaning that it is a description of the circumstances under which another offense was committed that causes the sentence for that underlying offense to become harsher.
The most common charges which domestic violence attaches to are:
- Criminal Mischief
- Violation of a Restraining Order
In order to add the sentence enhancer of domestic violence, the State must prove that you committed the crime against a person with whom you are or were involved in an intimate relationship. In addition, unless the underlying crime is an act of violence or a threat of violence, it must be proven that you committed the underlying crime as a method of coercing, controlling, punishing, intimidating, or getting revenge against your partner or ex.
Don’t be fooled by the notion that if the accuser changes his or her mind about “pressing charges” your case will be dismissed. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about criminal law. The fact is that once the police are called and an arrest is made, the case now belongs to the State of Colorado and the decisions about how to move forward are made by a prosecutor. While input from the alleged victim is considered, prosecutors do not dismiss domestic violence cases just because they are asked to do so by the named victim. In some situations, the prosecutor looks at such requests as evidence of coercion or control over the victim by the accused and causes the prosecutor to push harder on your case.
If you are convicted on a charge of domestic violence.
If you're convicted of a DV charge, you will be required to complete a lengthy period of probation requiring intensive therapy and classes. You will be required to demonstrate an understanding and application of the domestic violence treatment principles before you can complete your treatment and be discharged. It is no longer enough just to attend the DV therapy for a certain period of time.
If you have been accused of a domestic violence crime, it is critical that you contact an experienced domestic violence attorney immediately to ensure all of your rights are protected. Do not hesitate to call attorney Jayme Moss regarding your case, there is simply too much at stake.