A case receiving significant local and national media attention is the Domestic Violence case currently pending in Denver County Court against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. The charge filed by the Denver District Attorney is Third Degree Assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a maximum possible punishment of two years in the Denver County Jail.
The reality is that Mr. Varlamov would not serve anything close to that maximum two year sentence; it is unlikely in any first offense, at least at the misdemeanor level, for a jail sentence to be served, absent unusually aggravating circumstances. However, media outlets reporting that a sentence as minimal as community service could be ordered are misinformed. Because the case involves an ex-girlfriend, it falls within the classification of Domestic Violence sentence enhancement, and therefore involves a requirement of the completion of a domestic violence treatment program. The only way to avoid the attachment of this sentence enhancer, and therefore the requirement of the treatment, would be for the case to be dismissed in its entirety.
Much of the coverage in the media avoids consideration of perhaps the most serious collateral consequence of a conviction in this case – the immigration consequences. Because Assault in the Third Degree is considered a crime of moral turpitude or CIMT, a conviction for this offense can make a non-citizen subject to removal proceedings. Similarly, this type of conviction can result in US visa denial.
A plea to a lesser charge, despite the presence of the DV sentence enhancer, could avoid this harsh collateral consequence.
That being said, there appear to be significant questions as to the credibility of the alleged victim in this case, who immediately turned to the media, and has even requested to be paid to provide her story.
It could be argued that there are financial motivations and that the charges in this case may be retributive in nature.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.