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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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Expedient, Thorough and Effective

Fortunately, I don’t find myself needing legal representation often…only once before have I needed an attorney. My situation was interesting…I was given a disorderly conduct summons and felt it was far beyond the pale in terms of its validity. I didn’t want this on my record and needed help navigating the legal process. I did some research on a few attorneys and read about Jeff Wolf’s practice. I called Jeff and we spoke the same day. He listened to me and I met with him a few days later. He took the time to explain his process and approach, which made sense to me and seemed to be in the right dollar range for what we were dealing with. Thankfully, my case was dismissed. Jeff took the time to show the DA that there were inconsistencies all over the place and that there was no way I was guilty…likely shouldn’t have even been issued a summons. As I said to Jeff, I hope I never have to talk with him again, but I won’t hesitate to call if need be.

— Christian

Responsive, Insightful, Professional and Compassionate

Jeff is not only great in the courtroom, but has a sense of caring and true passion for his profession. He takes the time to explain things with a productive attitude. I would highly recommend him and can’t thank him enough.

— Mike

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

Amazing Results

I worked with Jeffrey on my first DUI case. I had a high BAC but instead of focusing on that, he had me focus on the things I could do before court to prepare. I did my part and he did too. 2/3 charges dropped, 1 largely reduced which prevented any jail time. I’m so thankful, highly recommend Wolf Law.

— Aaron S.

Ms. Kelly was a professional rock for us!

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.

— The Taylors

Much Appreciation!

After a misread medical record, I was wrongly accused of a serious crime. Even though doctors admitted that the nurse misstated the severity of an injury, law enforcement tried to destroy my life. Law enforcement threatened to take away my wife, my kids and my life. I called around to a couple of attorneys, and no one offered the type of first-class customer service that Jeff provided. He was immediately available. Throughout the process, Jeff was there to guide and protect me. He was always available. And, after a long journey together, we found justice and freedom. During the process, I found Jeff to be intelligent, determined and highly personable. I strongly recommend Jeff!

— Anonymous

Here’s a Lawyer You can Trust

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

I Was Lucky to Have Jeff Represent Me

After a referral from a friend, I was lucky enough to have Jeff represent me in a domestic violence case. I found Jeff to be extremely professional and experienced in his field. This being my first experience with the court system, he took the time to explain the process and my options in terms I could understand. I never felt like he was forcing me to take one option over another, he clearly explained each one and, while giving his recommendation, left it up to me as to which decision I felt would be the best for me and my family.

I am very pleased with the outcome of my case and would highly recommend Jeff to anyone in this situation.

— Melissa

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.

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