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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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In early March, my heart was seemingly ripped out. I was driving into town with my two children, 5 and 2, in extremely inclimate weather conditions when my car hit a patch of ice and I lost control of my vehicle. It was a horrific accident and I was the only survivor in my vehicle. As if this wasn’t the worst thing that could have ever happened, I was charged with careless driving resulting in death, two counts. I was referred to Mr. Wolf by four separate law offices, as well as the BAR Association. The District Attorney’s office attempted to raise my charges to much more serious felony charges that could have carried very harsh sentences. Mr. Wolf was able to maintain the original charges and speak compassion and mercy to the the judge, leaving me facing only community service and a short probation with minimal associated probation costs. I would recommend his services to anybody and everybody. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable, but he is passionate about his work, while showing the utmost compassion and respect for his clients’ situation.

— Jamie

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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.

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In the past few years I have had the unfortunate circumstance of needing a criminal defense attorney. I cannot overstate how fortunate I was to have chosen Colleen Kelley. I can honestly say that without Colleen on my side that I would have been sentenced to significantly more time and more serious charges than were warranted in my situation.

Colleen is undoubtedly a major reason as to why I am free today and able to move on with rebuilding my life. I would without hesitation recommend Colleen to anyone who needs a criminal defense attorney.

— Matthew M.

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I was extremely fortunate to have Jeff as my lawyer during a difficult time. He made sure I was taken care of and fought for what he knew was right on my behalf. My experience working with Jeff was nothing but great as he helped me get through my case. He is extremely knowledgeable, kind, and is willing to help out with a smile on his face. Jeff is an AMAZING lawyer and I cannot thank him enough for all the hard work he has done! Thank you Jeff!

— Summer

Mr. Wolf Blew My Expectations Out of the Water

After recently facing two relatively serious traffic violations, Mr. Wolf was able to obtain an outcome for my case that far exceeded my expectations. From the initial consultation onward, Jeff was extremely professional, punctual, and confident. Jeff clearly defined our objectives and provided me with some serious peace of mind. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mr. Wolf’s services to any family member or friend in need and couldn’t be more pleased with his representation!

— Michael

Highly Recommend Wolf Law for DUI Cases

I hired Jeff Wolf to represent me for a DUI and accident involving damages. While I knew I was 100 percent in the wrong, Jeff never once made me feel like a terrible person for making a mistake. He quickly responded to emails and always called me back quickly when I had questions (I had a lot of questions). I’ve never been in trouble with the law before, and Jeff was patient in explaining everything thoroughly to me throughout the entire process, and was also able to get my sentence reduced. I recommend him to anyone going through a similar situation.

— Emily

I Recommend Jeff Wolf to Anyone Needing Legal Defense

I retained the services of Jeff Wolf after I received a DUI. During the free consultation, Jeff reviewed his services and the details of what would happen before, during and after my trial. He was very thorough, supportive and diligent in ensuring all my questions were answered. I am thrilled with the level of service he provided for an extremely reasonable fee. Jeff was accessible and reassuring throughout this entire process. The end-result of my hearing was exactly what I had expected based on Jeff’s counseling. This is a direct result of his knowledge and experience with the court and the system. I was very impressed with his closing presentation in court and his professionalism and felt that the judge reduced my fines and my sentence because of Jeff’s efforts. I have already recommended him to two other people and will continue to recommend him to anyone requiring the services of a defense attorney.

— Monty

Look No Further – Jeff is the Best

I was falsely accused of a crime with serious consequences, was very depressed and got even more depressed and frustrated as I was interviewing attorneys to defend me. They had a broad spectrum of approaches and some were ready to head to trial immediately as it seemed they were primarily interested in battles and my money rather than my best interests. The first one was extremely arrogant and rushed to get me off the phone. My court appearance date was approaching and I was ready to give up when I came across Jeffrey’s website. I read he had once also been falsely accused which motivated him to become an attorney. After further reading, his philosophy appealed to me so I set up a free session.

I met with Jeffrey and told him what happened. He explained the alleged crime and potential consequences and then spoke about himself and his approach. I spent more time than the “free time” allocated but was never rushed. He listened, believed me and was really genuine as I had not witnessed before with other attorneys.

By the time we finished talking, I felt respected and not disrespected as I found out with this accusation, you are guilty until proven innocent from most everyone’s perspective. I hired Jeff on the spot and when I left his office, I felt this big burden lifted off my shoulders as I knew I could trust him to do his best for me. I was finally able to sleep that night and after several weeks able to put this out of my mind as being the constant main focus.

If you are seeking a very knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring, honest and respectful attorney, Jeffrey fits the bill. He is a great listener and never rushed me even with a flat fee rate. He has a good rapport with the Court who also respectfully listens to him. He is well spoken in the courtroom. I have seen him in several cases reaching very good settlements for his clients. On my case, he provided me his opinion with his rationale as to how I should proceed but allowed me to then make a decision as to go to trial or take a plea bargain. He would fully support my decision either way. Jeff is very good in providing the pros and cons, risks, and potential scenarios that may play out. My case will be dismissed shortly and record sealed as a result of Jeff’s hard work, negotiations, poking holes in the accuser’s story pre-trial, and dedication to my satisfactory case resolution. If you want the best, look no further as you have found him. Thank you Jeff!

— David C.

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I was charged with my first DUI and was referred to Jeff by a friend of mine. He gave me a realistic expectation of what would happen and is an expert at navigating the process. Jeff is always incredibly quick to respond and is very knowledgeable. He is professional and represented me well in the courtroom. The experience of being charged with a DUI is a terrible, humiliating and challenging event – having an experienced attorney was priceless!

— Anonymous