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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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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

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I utilized Mr. Wolf’s services for my case. Granted each case is individual, but I was able to get my charge dismissed. Mr. Wolf worked with me and communicated with me in a timely manner, always being available for questions and/or support. His fees are reasonable and his service exemplary. I highly recommend Wolf Law if you are in need of services for criminal charges.

— Carin

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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

Jeff Wolf was Well Worth the Investment

When you get charged with a crime it is tough to deal with, mostly because you are embarrassed and disappointed with yourself for what you have done. I was charged with theft and was very worried about what type of impact that would have on my business professional career when applying for jobs. I contacted a few lawyers but knew that Jeff was the right direction to take. He made me feel more at ease knowing that people make mistakes and that this would not effect my whole life. He was very helpful and quick to respond to any questions or concerns that I had.

During my time with Jeff he made me feel very comfortable and I knew going into everything what to expect, what to say, and how to present myself. Whether you hire a lawyer or not is your own decision. But to me what Jeff was able to provide was well worth it. I literally told him my story, how I felt and what type of outcome I was looking for on the first day. Besides showing up with him to court he did everything else and took care of everything. We were sentenced to the verdict that we were looking for and now I can move forward and put this case behind me. Thanks for all your help Jeff it was much appreciated.

— Nick

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

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.

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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.

— Adam B.

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— Anonymous

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I recently had the pleasure of becoming Colleen Kelley’s client. Even despite the terrible circumstances of fighting wrongful criminal charges, Colleen provided a supportive and pleasant experience during this process. Thankfully, I was introduced to Colleen through another attorney. She took my case on short notice and started working on my behalf in less than 24 hours by showing up to court the day after I secured her services.

She was diligent in her research, communication, and pursuit of justice. In just three short months, my case was dismissed. During this three-month nightmare, Colleen provided clarity and assurance along the way. While Colleen was very thorough in regards to every possible outcome I might experience, her professionalism and devotion to this case made it clear that the outcomes would be outstanding from day one. I’m so thankful that I found Colleen to represent me. I would highly recommend her services.

— Dawn R.

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I hired Mr. Wolf to represent me in my efforts to obtain a permanent civil protection order against the person who committed a crime against me. This person is currently incarcerated for the crime but is being considered for parole. Due to Mr. Wolf’s criminal law background, and his outstanding attorney ratings, I believed him to be the best legal professional to successfully represent my safety and security concerns in court. I was not wrong!!

Mr. Wolf expertly and succinctly prepared the protection order paperwork on my behalf, prepared me for my court appearance in a direct and as complete a manner as possible, and successfully represented me in court. He also expressed sincere kindness towards me from the day I hired him to the conclusion of my case. Another attorney without a criminal law background may have been able to have successfully obtained a permanent civil protection order on my behalf; however, I was unwilling to take that chance given the criminal background of my case. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Wolf for his successful representation of me, and for making my safety and security one of his top priorities.

— Teresa M