Being accused of domestic violence in Colorado is no joke. In fact, it is an accusation that can have devastating consequences for the rest of your life – and it can impact your rights.
If you’re dealing with domestic violence in Colorado, you may have many questions. Here are some of the most frequent questions we get for those who are involved in domestic violence cases. Here are just a few of the most important answers to your questions that we think everyone should know.
What Is Domestic Violence?
This is a basic question but an important one. After all, if you’re accused of domestic violence, you should at least understand what it is and why you’re a suspect.
Domestic violence is not a crime in and of itself in Colorado. Instead, it is an accusation that can add an enhancement or aggravating factor to your case and impact sentencing should you be found guilty. It increases the penalties for certain crimes if they are perpetrated against someone with whom you are involved in a romantic relationship, or have been, and anyone to whom you have been or are currently married.
Common crimes that receive domestic violence enhancements include things such as:
- Sexual contact
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
- Child abuse
But really, domestic violence can be added as an enhancement to any crime, even those against property or pets if the evidence supports it.
Should You Just Plead Guilty?
Sometimes people can feel as if they just want to put an incident behind them, so they wonder if they should just go ahead and plead guilty. Don’t fall into this trap.
It’s common to feel remorseful after an incident, but a domestic violence enhancement on a charge can impact your life in a myriad of ways, all negative. It can impact future jobs, housing, and even loans.
So, think twice before you just decide to throw in the towel and make sure to consult with an experienced attorney.
What Ways Can a Conviction of Domestic Violence Impact Your Future?
If you are found guilty or plead guilty to a domestic violence enhancement, then you can face many different consequences. You may go to jail for a long time, be subject to probation, and pay hefty court fees – but that’s not where it stops.
There may be mandatory counseling or treatment recommended by the court that you must attend – and you will cover the cost. You may lose access to certain family members or places the place where you live. You might be unable to get certain types of jobs or licenses for certain types of careers. And you can even lose the ability to own a firearm.
If You Reconcile with the Victim, Can the Charges Be Dropped?
The short answer to this question is no, the charges will not be dropped if you make up with the person against whom you’re accused of perpetrating these crimes.
District Attorneys in Colorado cannot drop domestic violence charges – even if the victim wants to drop them. As long as they have the evidence, they need to successfully pursue the case. It is out of your hands and the hands of the victim, as well.
What If the Accusations are False?
False accusations for domestic violence do happen. After all, sometimes in arguments in relationships, emotions can run high. Pair that with the fact that many instances of domestic violence have no witnesses except those who were involved, and it often comes down to a case of the word of the accuser against that of the accused. It’s something you’ll have to deal with legally, even if the accusations are fabricated.
Is Threatening Violence Considered Domestic Violence
You may think that you have to lay hands on another person to commit domestic violence, but that’s not the case at all. A threat of violence is considered the same thing as violence in the eyes of the court.
In other words, if you act in a way that seeks to intimidate, control, coerce, seek revenge, or punish a person with whom you’re in an intimate relationship (or have been), then it is considered domestic violence by the court.
Can Damage to Property Count as Domestic Violence?
Violence doesn’t only have to be perpetrated against another person to be considered domestic violence. If you intentionally damage the property of your partner or former partner, such as their car or home, then it’s considered domestic violence. Even committing violent acts against a pet can be considered domestic violence.
There is a lot to know if you are accused of domestic violence, so make sure to contact an attorney.
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 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.