Accusations of domestic violence are all too common. Even when they’re made in the heat of the moment, the accuser cannot “take it back” at the scene or later in the legal proceedings. The situation is immediately in the hands of law enforcement and the prosecutor. Colorado law is very specific and somewhat inflexible on what happens after the accusation is made.
If you have any questions about a domestic violence situation, don’t hesitate to contact a Denver domestic violence attorney from Wolf Law today at (720) 479-8574.
What is Domestic Violence?
It’s important to understand that domestic violence is not a standalone charge. It can be added to any number of other misdemeanors and felonies in a way that affects sentencing and triggers other requirements. In legal terms, it’s called a “sentence enhancer” or an “aggravator.”
Most often, domestic violence is attached to offenses such as:
For example, if a harassment charge is made in the context of a situation in which the accuser and accused have (or had) an “intimate relationship” (as defined by law and established by the prosecutor), the harassment charge is classified as Harassment/Domestic Violence.
What Happens Next?
What are the implications if you’re accused of domestic violence? Two aspects of the law’s inflexibility will be apparent from the beginning.
First, you will spend a few hours or even a night in jail since the responding police officers must make an arrest if they feel there is probable cause that a confrontation involved domestic violence. They are required to ensure that a situation will not escalate after they leave the scene and that means arrest rather than mediation. Then, by law, your bond must be set personally by a judge so until that happens, you will remain in jail.
Second, a charge of domestic violence cannot be dismissed or have the domestic violence tag removed by a prosecutor unless the prosecutor declares to the court under oath that he or she cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If found guilty of domestic violence, you will be subject to the following:
- Domestic violence counseling and treatment.
- A mandatory protection order period limiting contact with the accuser and any witness for the duration of the case and any sentence, if convicted.
- Terms of probation that vary based on the offense, jurisdiction, and other terms of the sentence.
You may also find that a conviction affects your parental rights, professional licensure opportunities, ability to obtain a loan, and many other fundamental aspects of your life.
Additionally, domestic violence convictions trigger some significant federally-mandated restrictions and provisions related to gun ownership, security clearances, government employment, military service, and even deportation.
Domestic violence cases move very quickly due to Colorado’s “fast-track” procedures. If you find yourself accused of domestic violence, don’t wait before contacting an attorney experienced in the issue. Unfortunately, time, as well as the process itself, is not on your side.
If you have any questions about a domestic violence situation, call Wolf Law today at (720) 479-8574.