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Domestic violence accusations are common in Colorado, and even when they’re made in the heat of the moment with no accompanying threat of violence these allegations can’t be retracted at the scene or in legal proceedings. Once domestic violence is reported to police in Colorado, the situation is entirely in the hands of law enforcement and the prosecutor.

On this page, the Denver criminal defense lawyers at Wolf Law answer some of the most commonly asked questions about domestic violence charges in Colorado. Our compassionate attorneys have extensive experience with domestic violence cases, and we understand the emotional nature and severity of domestic violence charges.

If you or a loved one is facing a domestic violence accusation and accompanying criminal charges in Colorado, please call us today at 720-479-8574 or contact us online for a free consultation.

How is domestic violence defined in Colorado?

According to Colorado revised statute, “domestic violence means an act or threated act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship…”

Domestic violence includes physical violence, as well as emotional or verbal abuse.

Colorado’s domestic violence definition is extremely broad. Intimate partners, for example, do not have to live together or be married to initiate a domestic violence charge. A domestic or intimate relationship may apply to spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, and roommates.

Domestic violence includes physical violence (e.g., hitting, pushing), emotional and verbal abuse (e.g., yelling, intimidating, sending harassing texts), and sexual violence (e.g., forcing a person to engage in an unwanted sex act). Domestic violence also includes any other crime against a person or their property (such as a pet) when used to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or exact revenge against a current or former intimate partner.

Do police have to arrest someone if there is probable cause for domestic violence in Colorado?

Colorado has a mandatory arrest policy that requires law enforcement to make an arrest when they have probable cause to believe that a crime involving domestic violence occurred.

Colorado law enforcement are required to make an arrest when they have probable cause to believe a crime involving domestic violence occurred.

Unfortunately, the challenge of determining probable cause on the spot often forces law enforcement officers to make an arrest even if no crime occurred. In Colorado, police consider five factors to determine if there is probable cause for a domestic violence arrest:

  • Intimidation
  • Coercion
  • Control
  • Punishment
  • Revenge

If law enforcement officers suspect the presence of any of these indicators—to any degree—they must make an arrest.

What should I do if I’ve been arrested for domestic violence?

First, invoke your right to remain silent. Do not admit guilt or submit to police questioning until you have an attorney present.

Second, get skilled legal representation as soon as possible. As noted below, Colorado fast-tracks domestic violence cases, which means time is limited to enter a plea and gather evidence to support your case.

Do not accept any plea deals or make a plea without legal representation. Any plea aside from “not guilty” may result in penalties and a permanent domestic violence charge on your public records.

What if the accuser doesn’t want to press charges?

Once a person has been arrested for domestic violence in Colorado, there is no going back, even if the accuser decides he or she doesn’t want to press charges.

Suspected offenders will be taken to jail and will remain there until a judge sets a bond amount. Domestic violence charges can’t be dismissed unless a prosecutor declares under oath to the court that he or she can’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is a “sentence enhancer” and how does it relate to domestic violence charges?

Domestic violence is often not a standalone charge. It can be added to a number of other misdemeanor and felony charges, including but not limited to:

In legal terms, domestic violence is often what is referred to as a “sentence enhancer” or “aggravator.” The addition of domestic violence to other criminal charges can affect sentencing in the event of a conviction and also trigger other requirements, such as mandatory counseling.

What is a “fast-track” procedure and how does it relate to domestic violence charges in Colorado?

Colorado developed a fast-track procedure for domestic violence cases in order to ensure victims’ safety and aid suspected offenders in getting the help they need as quickly as possible.

This fast-track process requires arresting officers to complete an incident report the same day a domestic violence arrest is made. Defendants in domestic violence cases are obligated to enter a plea at their first court appearance. Without a good criminal defense attorney by your side, the fast-track experience can be confusing and overwhelming.

If convicted in a domestic violence case, what penalties and consequences are possible?

If found guilty of domestic violence, offenders will be subject to the following:

  • Domestic violence counseling and treatment
  • A mandatory protection order limiting contact with the accuser and any witnesses for the duration of the case and, if convicted, any sentence
  • Probation, the terms of which will vary based on the offense, jurisdiction and other sentencing terms

A domestic violence conviction can also affect your parental rights, employment opportunities, and ability to obtain a loan among other aspects of your life. Additionally, domestic violence convictions trigger federally mandated restrictions related to gun ownership, government employment, military service, and citizenship status.

Domestic violence charges can lead to life-changing penalties. If you’re facing domestic violence charges, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Multiple domestic violence charges lead to more severe penalties. Individuals with three prior criminal convictions involving domestic violence will be labeled a habitual domestic violence offender—a Colorado class 5 felony, which includes one to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

How can a criminal defense lawyer help in domestic violence cases?

If you or a loved one was arrested for domestic violence, it’s in your best interests to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence to protect your rights and build a strong defense.

Domestic violence charges have serious consequences, and domestic violence cases move quickly due to Colorado’s fast-track process. The accomplished Denver criminal defense attorneys at Wolf Law are dedicated to providing personalized representation and fighting for the best possible outcome for those accused of domestic violence.

If you’re facing domestic violence charges in Colorado, please call Wolf Law at 720-479-8574 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You can also contact us online to tell us your story now.

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Colleen is one of the best!! Goes Above and Beyond

I had to use legal services regarding a personal matter and I contacted 3 other lawyers. Colleen was the only one who took time to understand the issue but only explain legally how it can be addressed.

Also, I was surprised when she got me the desired result but she kept moving forward to make sure I had material for a potential criminal case. It shows that she cares and understands legal strategies.

— Anonymous

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Mr. Wolf was recommended to me through my cousin. I was facing a very serious legal matter and Mr. Wolf was amazing. He explained everything to me in detail. He listened to my questions and was very helpful. I am so thankful that he was my lawyer.

— Amy K

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Jeff took on 2 cases for me with complete success. He is extremely sharp and confident. Jeff really gets to know his clients and is very sympathetic to their needs.
The relationships he has with prosecutors and the judges was pure respect. When he spoke he had the ears of the courtroom. He speaks very eloquent and exudes confidence that translates into the result I was looking for, “Case Dismissed.”

I highly recommend his services. If you are need of his services you will get more than what you pay for.

— Steven L.

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Colorado Law had recently passed a law, that would help me in the messy situation I was in. I knew immediately I had to find a lawyer to discuss the situation and the circumstances surrounding the process, and eligibility requirements for my specific case. I have to admit, I was very nervous reaching out to any lawyers who could help me.

So I did my research to the best of my ability, and having questions to ask to confirm I was making the right choice in a lawyer. A friend of mine who had previously worked with Mr. Wolf, had strongly recommended that I contact him. I am very grateful that I had! He was very respectful, and had a obvious passion to help me, asking specific questions surrounding my situation so that we can both deal with the issue at hand. Talking me through the processes and possible outcomes, straight forward. No sugar coating, which is nice because I value honesty.

Throughout the whole process, I was comfortable, and very trusting, as questions were answered accurately and after I tried contacting him with new questions or comments, he would return my call or email within 24 Hours! That showed me that he cared and was on top of his workload.

Nonetheless, the outcome of my case worked really well for me, and was a success. And for that, I want to show my gratitude.

Thank You Mr. Wolf for being on my side! I strongly recommend to anyone looking for a well competent lawyer, to contact Jeffrey Wolf at Wolf Law!

— Erwin H.

Wonderful Experience with Colleen Kelley

I recently had the pleasure of becoming Colleen Kelley’s client. Even despite the terrible circumstances of fighting wrongful criminal charges, Colleen provided a supportive and pleasant experience during this process. Thankfully, I was introduced to Colleen through another attorney. She took my case on short notice and started working on my behalf in less than 24 hours by showing up to court the day after I secured her services.

She was diligent in her research, communication, and pursuit of justice. In just three short months, my case was dismissed. During this three-month nightmare, Colleen provided clarity and assurance along the way. While Colleen was very thorough in regards to every possible outcome I might experience, her professionalism and devotion to this case made it clear that the outcomes would be outstanding from day one. I’m so thankful that I found Colleen to represent me. I would highly recommend her services.

— Dawn R.

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After finding myself wrongfully accused of a DUI charge, Mr. Wolf fought to show the DA that I was not guilty and ultimately got the charge dismissed. Mr. Wolf’s knowledge, professionalism, and effectiveness made me feel comfortable and confident throughout my case. He was always more than willing to answer any questions I had promptly and thoroughly. Although this was an unfortunate situation, I couldn’t have asked for better representation. I would highly recommend Mr. Wolf!

— Anonymous

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I found myself threatened with life-changing accusations, and Jeff Wolf was there for me. Kept me up to date every step of the way and really helped relieve the stress of going through something so awful. 100 percent worth every penny.

— Patrick

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I met with a probation violation complaint for a DUI in Summit County. I live outside of Colorado, in Boston. I felt hopeless. I felt like my only option was to travel out to Colorado, give myself up and just see what happened. That would have meant jail and thus loss of job and loss of house.

I called Jeff and talked to him about my case. His experience in this area put me at ease. Jeff guided me through everything I needed to do to see this case through. The greatest thing is that I never had to leave home to clear this up. At the end of the day Jeff cleared my case (Case Dismissed) without me ever leaving Boston. Jeff is incredible, and his team is equally amazing.

I can’t thank Wolf Law enough for what they have done for me. I have a new outlook on life thanks to Jeff.

— Matt P.

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Jeff is truly an expert in his field. He is extremely knowledgeable and bright and it was clear throughout his management of my case that he is highly respected. He was very supportive of my desire to see my case through to trial, he was always empathetic, and he took the time to understand my personal and professional situation. He was determined to get me the best outcome with the least impact to my personal and professional life and he succeeded. We were dealing with a refusal and I have little doubt that I would not have had the same results with another attorney. Jeff is a powerhouse in the courtroom! I am beyond appreciative and would strongly recommend anyone facing challenging legal issues to seek out Jeff’s expertise.

— Jana S.

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Unfortunately, I have required an attorney more than a few times. That said, Jeff is the most intelligent, competent, compassionate, committed, aggressive representation to be found, without a doubt. Facing a felony DUI, no proof of insurance, careless driving and cruelty to animals (my dog gets more love than most people in the world), followed by two DURs (driving under revocation), I pretty much felt I was screwed. After hiring and firing two attorneys, I called Jeff. Note: Do your research before you waste money, and do whatever it takes to get the money for proper representation. I met with Jeff based on his peer reviews, client reviews, education and experience; all of them positive and 100 percent accurate. Twenty minutes into the consultation, all my built-up stress and anxiety had been significantly reduced. I thought my driving privileges were over for a while. Jeff showed me what I needed to do to get a restricted license, which I was able to do within a few days. Following that he made two DURs, jail time offenses, turn into one zero-point traffic violation. Then, one year to the date of my run-in with the law, Jeff and I went to trial. The no insurance charge was dropped. I was insured. The cruelty to animals charge was dropped after the first day of trial. On the second day, I was found not guilty of DUI, DWAI and careless driving. The time, effort and determination Jeff put in was clear, and his strategies and trial skills were clearly superb. No better counsel can be found in my opinion.

— Patrick