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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 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.

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I contacted Jeff Wolf after I had some family issues that also carried potential criminal charges. I spoke with him as soon as i realized how severe the situation could be and he offered great legal advice that lead to me bringing him on as my personal attorney. The charges against me were dropped and I never had to go to trial but throughput the entire process Jeff was in touch and taking care of everything I needed. I am very happy with his services and would certainly work with him again if I was in the situation.

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I would highly recommend attorney Jeffrey Wolf. He consistently demonstrates knowledge and professionalism, both in and out of the courtroom. His expertise helped me to understand the legal process. As a victim of domestic violence, I looked to Mr. Wolf to assist me in obtaining a restraining order. His compassion combined with skill helped me to feel safe again.  I reached a positive outcome in my case and felt informed, confident, and cared for with Mr. Wolf in my corner.

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We found ourselves in an unimaginable situation with criminal charges pressed against my husband relating to a firearm. We were both petrified. Especially with the gun climate we find ourselves in. Neither of us had ever been in trouble with the law and after a terrible accident, we found just that. Ms. Kelly is extremely professional and knowledgeable of the legal system. She took the time to explain everything to us and prepare us for what would follow.

We are happy with the outcome of the case and would highly recommend Ms. Kelly to anyone who may find themselves in our situation.

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I have been an attorney for 18 years. I have seen Jeff Wolf in court handle a large variety of criminal defense and protection order matters with the highest degree of professionalism and effectiveness. Jeff is not only intelligent and incredibly timely and efficient, but also carries a wide scope of wisdom and experience; there is nothing he has not seen.

I know if I refer friends or clients to him, they will be in strong capable hands with an attorney who truly cares and is a great advisor. I have also seen Colleen Kelley in major felony hearings in court and she is a force to be reckoned with.

When I needed an attorney for my own legal situation, I retained Jeff and his firm. I witnessed first-hand how competent and reassuring Jeff and Collen are as attorneys and counselors, but from the perspective of a client. Superb attorneys, but also the best people. When I am unable to accept a criminal case, I often refer the potential client to the Wolf Law LLC.

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I was worried about looking for a lawyer because I have never done so before, but Jeff Wolf made it super easy for me and I couldn’t have been more happy with his services. He called me anytime something happened with my case or needed anything from me. He got me out of a 10 day jail sentence which really helped me since I started school this week. Honestly it was nothing but a professional and honest experience.

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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!

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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!

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My experience was very hard like many others facing any criminal charges against them. Jeffery A. Wolf was a very compassionate, caring individual that was there to help me through the entire court process. He is very knowledgeable about criminal law and was very helpful, getting my family and me through the whole criminal process. He fought for me in a time I needed someone the most, ensuring me that he was there for me and out to get the best results as possible from the court system. What an outstanding man to fight for the truth and be there for anyone with criminal charges, explaining the whole process very methodically and being pin point with all the facts. I was very confident in his experiences and knowledge that I would only trust my future with Jeffery A. Wolf. I had a great experience with him, allowing me to have the life I am here to live.

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