• Speak with An Experienced Defense Attorney Today
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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 the Colorado revised statute, “domestic violence means an act or threatened 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 domestic abuse 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.

What can be done about the protection order?

Just like an arrest, a criminal protection order is mandatory in a domestic violence case, per Colorado law. This type of protection order is in effect during your case and may last for the duration of your sentence if you are convicted of domestic violence charges.

You may request that the order be modified at any time while the case is pending or during any sentence. Your request has a better chance of being accepted if you haven’t violated the protection order or been convicted of any other crimes. Completing a domestic violence treatment program may also help a judge look more favorably on your request.  Additionally the alleged victim and DA’s position will also weigh heavily on the judge’s decision.  

The alleged victim of the case can also request to have it modified or removed at any time.

When can I see my kids?

The answer depends on the details of the protection order. Domestic violence protection orders generally prevent the accused abuser from seeing or contacting the alleged victim(s) and witnesses.  Additionally protection orders typically require that you vacate and stay away from the home of the alleged victim, which will often be where your children reside. In many cases, protection orders prohibit the restrained person from seeing their children. 

If your protection order prevents you from seeing your children, you must not violate it. The best thing to do is contact a domestic violence attorney. They may be able to work with the court to have the order modified to allow you to visit your children under certain circumstances.

When can I go home?

Generally, a domestic violence protection order prevents you from returning home. This is done to protect the alleged victim. The protection order prevents you from returning home while your case is pending, and possibly afterward, depending on the outcome.

However, Colorado does make an exception to allow you to return home for a short period of time to collect essential personal items. The procedure is called civil standby or civil assist, and it allows you to collect essentials while being accompanied and monitored by a law enforcement officer.  It is important to note that you may only obtain undisputed property and that the window of time provided by law enforcement is typically 15-30 minutes.

How does a civil standby work?

Civil standby allows a law enforcement officer to accompany a person as they retrieve necessary personal items from their home during a protective situation. In Colorado, civil standby is required when there is an active protection order. 

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, a protection order against you will automatically be created. The order prohibits you from going back to your home after you have been released from jail on bond. The civil standby allowance exists for this situation and allows you to return home to retrieve essential personal items while a law enforcement officer accompanies you. You can request civil standby via your city or county’s law enforcement office.

The law enforcement officer will not mediate between you and your accuser. They will monitor what you take and probably prevent you from taking anything the accuser doesn’t want you to take. Generally, the time limit for a civil standby is 15 to 30 minutes.

If my partner wants this case dismissed, why isn’t it?

Colorado law takes domestic violence charges very seriously. Even if your partner recants or doesn’t want to press charges, the decision to go to trial isn’t left up to them; it’s the DA’s decision.

Additionally, law enforcement officers and prosecutors may be suspicious of a partner who doesn’t want to press charges. They may believe the accuser is experiencing pressure to change their story or that they want the accused person to be able to return home to financially support the family. 

Will the DA really go to trial on a case where my partner does not want to?

The DA is the one who decides whether to take a domestic violence case to trial. Even if your partner doesn’t want to press charges, the DA will continue to prosecute if they believe they have enough evidence for a conviction.

A judge may dismiss domestic violence charges only under certain circumstances. Specifically, if the DA declares under oath that they don’t have sufficient evidence to prove guilt (beyond a reasonable doubt), the judge may dismiss the case.

Featured Blogs
  • Answers to 6 Common DUI Questions
  • Assault or Self-Defense?
  • happy hour to sober
  • breathalizer thumbnail
  • 4/20 safety
  • domestic violence cases
Certifications
Testimonials

Expert Help

I am glad that I was referred to Jeff. His capable counsel turned a really big mess into a straightforward procedure. All my contacts with the entire staff at Wolf Law were outstanding. Jeff was able to explain very complicated proceedings in a way that made sense and allowed me confidence that I was fully prepared. Jeff’s professionalism both inside and outside the courtroom was an immense help during a tough time. Legal troubles are very stressful, and it is important to have someone working for you with the experience and knowledge to be able to help. Jeff provided that and more: never feeling lost in the situation was an added benefit that was priceless. I would highly recommend the team at Wolf Law.

— John B.

Amazing Lawyer

If you’re looking for an amazing lawyer I would highly recommend Jeff Wolf and Wolf Law in general Jeff helped me every step of the way, kept me well informed about what was going on with my case, and was very responsive to every question I had and is genuinely a good dude. I appreciated all of his help and the way he handled my case. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a good lawyer cause he’s definitely the way to go thank you again Jeff!

— Jordan B

Representation by Jeff Wolf

Counselor Wolf was very professional, and each time we met to discuss my case he was patient and explained what we could expect and what might happen through each step in my proceedings. Counselor Wolf presented himself as very knowledgeable, confident and professional throughout our dealings in this matter. Thank you Jeff, I appreciate your attention to detail and adept representation.

— Jack O.

Outstanding Law Firm

Wolf Law was very helpful in fulfilling my personal needs. Colleen Kelley knew how to approach my case and made me feel better about my results in the bargain. I would recommend her to anyone with criminal trouble; she is an amazing lawyer.

— Levi

Worth every penny. Wolf Law at your side.

Wolf Law LLC is an exceptional law firm that I would recommend to all in search for legal help or advice. I had a troublesome case, it had me very worried and distraught, I had no idea what to do. I talked with Jeff in a FREE consultation, he was very knowledgeable and understanding of my situation, it had made me feel a lot more comfortable about my case and the position I was in (as if I was family). Every time there was something new about my case or even if I had questions, I felt comforted and relieved, Jeff responded very quickly.

I know not every case is the same and may not be dismissed like mine was, but with Wolf Law in your corner, I believe you have a fighting chance. Thank you again Wolf Law for fighting with me!

— B. Davis

Colleen Kelley is the Best

I have hired Colleen previously and she did wonders including case dismissal. The flat rate fee is such a wonderful carefree situation. I wouldn’t trust anyone else when it comes to felony legal matters.

— Dustin

Fully and Enthusiastically Recommended

When I was arrested for DUI/careless driving, I was overcome with a profound sense of hopelessness – I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I thought my life (including my career) was ruined. Making the decision to call Mr. Wolf for a consultation was the best decision I could have made. His immediate response set my mind at ease and gave me a the peace of mind that I so desperately needed.

Upon meeting him in person, I was thoroughly impressed by his experience and expertise, but what really struck me was his personable demeanor and genuine interest in helping me. He was very patient in explaining the legal process and made sure I was well prepared for every step of the way.

There is no doubt that his representation and advocacy, as well as the advice he had given me in order to prepare for court, resulted in an outcome that was more positive than I had dared hoped for (a DWAI with license intact and a reduced probation sentence), allowing me to move forward with my life. Mr. Wolf far exceeded my expectations, and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone seeking legal counsel.

— Anonymous

Wolf Fought Hard and I Owe Him for All He Did

I am writing this letter to show how much I appreciate Mr. Jeff Wolf for representing me in my DUI case. When I first visited Mr. Wolf I had all these questions of what is going to happen in the case and to myself. I did have a prior DUI in another state so this was new to me.

I received my DUI in April and finished my court in September. During this time Mr. Wolf had an open door policy if you wanted to visit or maybe answer any questions that I may have had. His personal attention to my case made me feel at ease at all my court appearances.

Mr. Wolf guided me through all the steps that were taking place around my case and all his advice paid off when the day came for my sentencing. Actually, the judge was impressed with all the steps I was doing to remedy my terrible mistake. Mr. Wolf fought hard for me and I owe him for all that he did for my family and myself. I can honestly say that I have found a gentleman that I would recommend to another or help my family with any issues.

— Brian G.

I Couldn’t Have Asked for a Better Lawyer

Until the night of my DUI, I had never been in trouble before so one could only imagine how scared I was. Facing a DUI with a possible felony/assault charge, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to get through it all. I happened to find Jeffrey Wolf through another lawyer. After meeting with him in person, I knew immediately that he was going to help me. I was a complete wreck from day 1 and yet he made me feel at ease with every meeting, phone call and court appearance.

One of the traits I appreciated most was his honesty. Mr. Wolf told me straight up from the beginning what could happen and what I was facing but reassured me that he would do everything he could to get me through it with the best outcome. Having him there with me through this process and through every court appearance with him by my side made it easier to handle and I am so grateful to have worked with him. At the end of it all, I was able to get probation with a deferred judgment on my case. I would absolutely refer Mr. Wolf to any of my friends and/or family!

— Nichole G.

6-Month Jail Sentence Reduced to 90 Days

I was arrested in May 2014 for a warrant that I had since 2010 for DUR, I was facing a six month jail sentence that would have caused me to lose my business, home, as well as once again re-offend me. After countless calls and conversations and meetings with numerous attorneys I was referred to Jeffery Wolf. By simply speaking with him over the phone I felt a little at ease, until I met with him and after that I was completely at ease. He made feel the way an attorney is suppose to make a client feel. He was extremely personable, caring, honest, completely honest, and very detailed as to what his process is and what will take place in court.

On the day of my hearing Jeff arrived a little early and had me wait in the hallway while he stepped into the court room and went to bat for me. The result was a 0 point violation allowing me to keep my DL, a six-month jail sentence reduced to 90 days in-home detention, and a $67 fine, which was way more than I expected.

I highly recommend Jeff he is an excellent attorney that takes your case as serious as you do. I hope I never have to hire an attorney again but if I do without a doubt Jeffrey Wolf will be my first and only thought.

— David