It was just an argument. Maybe it got a little loud, but you never wanted to get the police involved. Or, maybe you called the police, but just with the hope of having them mediate the argument. You didn’t want them to take your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, to jail. But that’s what happened. In Colorado, it’s what always happens.
In a misguided attempt to protect victims of domestic violence, the state legislature has dictated that the police MUST make an arrest any time they believe there is any probable cause that an act of domestic violence occurred. While people usually think of an act of “domestic violence” as something such as one person beating up their significant other—the reality is that something as minor as breaking the family remote control during an argument can get someone thrown in jail and put them at risk of losing their jobs, military career, 2nd Amendment Rights, ability to find housing, and a plethora of other possible consequences to the family. While certainly there are individuals in Colorado that are true domestic abusers, and there are times when someone SHOULD be charged with, and convicted, of a domestic violence related charge, often in Colorado the legislature’s overzealousness means that good people end up having their lives and careers ruined over incredibly minor incidents that the alleged victim never wanted prosecuted.
If the police are claiming you are the “victim,” but you don’t feel like a victim, you don’t want to be a victim, and you don’t want your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, charged with a crime, what do you do? Most people’s reaction is to speak with the district attorney to ask them to drop the case. While you have a right to do that, sadly it’s not that simple in Colorado. Technically, it is the State of Colorado pressing charges, not you. While they may smile and nod at you while you speak with them, in most cases they do not even believe they have the authority to do what you are asking. Worse, they may believe that it is in your best interest for them to ignore your request—after all they believe you to be a “victim” in a domestic violence relationship, and they desire to “help” you. Regardless whether you want the “help” or not, and no matter whether a domestic violence conviction would destroy your significant other’s career and ability to provide for your family, the matter moves forward.
So—what can you do to help your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, when they face domestic violence charges you believe are inappropriate?
First, do not contact your significant other during the term of the no contact order. While every county in Colorado has their own general policies about criminal no contact orders, the typical protection order in El Paso County and most other counties includes a no contact provision for the duration of the case-no matter if you are married and the case drags on for months or even more than a year. (NOTE: Always check the 18-1-1001 Protection Order in your own case to make sure you understand it fully.) That means that, even after your significant other gets out of custody, if they were to have contact with you it could lead to ANOTHER criminal charge against them-again whether you want them prosecuted or not. Do not put someone you care about in a worse position by trying to contact them during the period of a no-contact order-you will just make matters worse.
Second, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Be sure to speak with someone experienced in domestic violence cases and charges that is based in the area in which your significant other is charged and that has a proven track record of success. Attorneys are an exception to the no-contact order, and can contact your significant other to help them understand the process, and if the defendant desires, represent them in the matter. Properly handled, misdemeanor, and even many felony, domestic violence cases can be very manageable, and often are eventually dismissed.
Former prosecutor Patterson Weaver is highly experienced in representing clients charged with domestic violence, and has a long track record of success. Contact him today to find out if he can help your girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, fight the charges they are facing.
Click here for another article regarding domestic violence representation.