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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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Great Lawyer

I am very pleased with the outcome of my court case. Colleen Kelley kept me informed on the various process and was successful in removing my name from sex offender registry. I highly recommend Colleen Kelley if you need a lawyer.

— - Anonymous

Professional and Honest

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.

— Robert A.

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.

Truly There for You

Jeff is the best attorney my husband and I have used. He actually cared about what was best for my family. He actually fought for my husband and was on his side. He listened to my husband and made us feel like he was on our side and we could trust him with my husband’s future. I suggest to anyone looking for an attorney to put your trust in Jeff, he got us the best deal ever.

— Raena

Great Law Firm

Jeff Wolf and Cassandra Monahan were wonderful to work with. Very professional and thorough.

— Laura A.

Very confident and competent attorney! I am very happy with Jeff

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.

— Daniel E.

Beyond the Best

Jeffrey Wolf has been a beacon of hope to me when my situation seemed limited and unlikely of a positive outcome. He represented me for a DUI and as a domestic violence victim and did a phenomenal job on both. Not only was he able to defend and represent me, but his empathetic and ethical demeanor offered hope to myself and someone I truly care about. My partner and I are eternally grateful for his service, and I hereby recommend him without hesitation since I could not imagine a better result without him representing me.

— Marisabel

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

I Was Very Well Represented by Jeff

Regarding a DV assault charge, Jeff was able to have the judge do something he stated he’d never done in any similar case: he deferred my sentence, reduced probation, reduced the amount of classes I would have to take from being many weeks on end to 2 days, and instead of requiring a no-contact order (which would have left me homeless and unable to speak to my partner via any means), he placed me on a no-contact order with alcohol… That alone was the best thing I could hear.

Without going into details of my case, this was the best possible outcome I could have been given, and I’m so happy that I was recommended to him by a fellow law professional that went to school with Jeff. I will be using him again when the time comes to put this case behind me for good, and would recommend him to anyone who needs expert defense, and wants someone to explain your case in simple, yet professional terms. I felt very well taken care of. Thank you again, Jeff!

— Laurie A.

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