Unfortunately, the safeguards put in place to protect victims of domestic violence are often manipulated, and used in a way that perhaps was not intended by those who created the laws as they exist in Colorado today.
Oftentimes, domestic violence charges can arise out of a nasty breakup or even a divorce. While some of these charges certainly are not unfounded, others are brought forward as a means of leverage in a child custody dispute or other dispute which may arise upon the conclusion of a relationship. Once charges are filed, the alleged victim comes into a position of power – a power given to them by the mandatory restraining order put in place by the court.
How have I seen this power be taken advantage of? Because the mandatory protection order requires the defendant to vacate the home of the victim, the defendant typically is displaced upon the filing of domestic violence charges against him. If the defendant ceases to pay the rent or mortgage on the home, that can be viewed as a retaliation against the victim or harassment of the victim and therefore as a basis for the filing of a violation of protection order charge. Similarly, if the defendant ceases to pay for shared expenses or withdraws money from shared accounts, that too can be viewed as a violation of the protection order. Some individuals orchestrate the filing of domestic violence charges knowing that they will receive the benefit of the protection order in this context.
Additionally, I have also seen alleged victims bait the defendant into violating the protection order. This too is not altogether uncommon. One scenario is where the defendant and the victim share a child. I have seen victims text or call the defendant telling them their child wants to see them or that their child is sick. Remember that regardless of what the victim is telling you, it is a violation of the law for you to contact them back so long as a no contact order is in place – even if you did not initiate the contact.
When children were present during a domestic violence dispute, the children themselves are frequently placed on the protection order. This is perhaps among the most difficult consequences of a domestic violence charge for many defendants. Filing charges of domestic violence can be a quick and easy way for a parent to, at least temporarily, gain full custody of a minor child insofar as the protection order prohibits contact with the child.
In many domestic violence cases, part of the defense, if not a central part, is the argument that the alleged victim exaggerated or fabricated the allegations due to some motive they had. It is perhaps more believable to a jury that someone would do something like that if they are presented with a motive for doing so, such as any of the motives explored earlier in this article. Maybe the alleged victim sent text messages or left voicemails with he defendant that support such a motive. Otherwise, motive can be presented and argued by implication.
Ultimately, mandatory protection orders imposed in Colorado domestic violence matters can provide an easy solution for people looking for a particular result to get that result quickly, and to gain the upper hand and in essence leverage in a dispute. That is not to say that in many cases protection orders are needed, because they certainly can be.
If you are charged with an act of domestic violence, it is important to consult with and retain a criminal defense attorney experienced with defending domestic violence cases, and familiar with the sorts of defenses that can be raised in order to reduce or eliminate your charges altogether.
For more information on Domestic Violence Lawyer Kimberly Diego, visit her domestic violence webpage here.