Domestic Violence is a phrase eliciting a certain idea. In the public’s understanding, domestic violence goes hand in hand with physical violence between intimate partners. The phrase can often be viewed as synonymous with wife-beating. However, the notion that domestic violence always involves physical violence is false.
Colorado law defines domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or was at some point involved with in an intimate relationship. The law further states that “domestic violence” also encompasses any other crime against a person or against property, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or was involved with in an intimate relationship.
I often get calls from individuals who are shocked that they have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, because they did not either directly or indirectly touch the alleged victim. Perhaps they destroyed a vase, or even punched a wall instead of punching the person with whom they are arguing – to avoid doing something that they would later regret.
One may assume that property-based crimes of domestic violence are less serious than ones involving physical violence – that is not always the case. A serious property crime, serious insofar as it involves damaging an item which will cost a significant amount of money to repair or even replace, can rise to the level of a felony, and can result in a sentence to the department of corrections.
Also, one can be charged with domestic violence where there is no physical violence or even damage to property. For example, one can be charged based upon the exchange of text messages or even emails. Repeated calls made at inconvenient hours, repeated taunts or insults, or even obscene and foul language in public can result in misdemeanor harassment charges. Sometimes, that sort of conduct can even rise to the level of stalking, and therefore become a felony.
For more information on Domestic Violence Attorney Kimberly Diego, visit her domestic violence page here.