If you have been charged with domestic violence of any kind, it is important that you contact a domestic violence attorney right away. While ordinary misdemeanor convictions can significantly affect your future, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can have an even more serious and permanent impact on your life. Colorado takes domestic violence extremely seriously, and the negative effects of being convicted of any domestic violence crime—even a low-level misdemeanor domestic violence charge—can last forever. You should never assume that since a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, you should simply just plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence offense or forego retaining a criminal defense attorney. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Patterson Weaver today. Representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney can significantly increase your odds of successfully fighting a domestic violence case. Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer Patterson Weaver takes pride in providing experienced, aggressive, and responsive legal representation in cases throughout El Paso County and much of the surrounding area. If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime in Colorado, contact us now for a completely free consultation, and find out the benefits of being represented by an experienced Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer.
What is Domestic Violence?
In Colorado, domestic violence (DV) is not a separate offense in and of itself. Instead, domestic violence modifies and enhances normal charges, adding additional restrictions and conditions to sentences. Domestic violence in Colorado includes violent acts and threats of violence against somebody with whom the perpetrator has or has had an intimate relationship. Intimate relationships are those between spouses, exes, past or present couples who did not marry, and people who parent a child together even if they have never lived together.
Domestic violence can be applied to any crimes against people, animals, and property. Even if the crime itself is not violent in nature, it may still qualify as domestic violence if the accused had the intent to punish, control, intimidate, coerce, or take revenge on someone with whom the perpetrator had an intimate relationship. For example, if you break your spouse’s belongings as punishment for a suspected affair, that would be domestic violence. Similarly, if you kick your girlfriend’s dog in anger, that would also be domestic violence.
In Colorado, if a law enforcement officer believes that there is probable cause for domestic violence, the officer is required by statute to arrest the alleged perpetrator immediately. Officers no longer have the ability to exercise discretion in domestic violence investigations. It does not matter if the officer believes the incident was minor, or even if the alleged victim does not want the defendant arrested. If an officer that believes that there is probable cause that a domestic violence incident occurred, the officer has no choice but to arrest the person believed responsible. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, alleged victims of domestic violence incidents cannot choose to drop domestic violence charges. Further, most prosecutors believe they are barred from dismissing DV cases if there is even a minimal amount of evidence that a domestic violence incident occurred.
Once an individual has been arrested for domestic violence, they must be held in custody until a judge reviews the matter to advise the defendant of their rights, set bond, and issue a Mandatory Protection Order (MPO) under C.R.S. § 18-1-1001. A judge will generally not hear the matter and set bond until the next business day at the earliest, which means that when a person is unfortunate enough to be arrested on a Friday, they will be spending multiple days in jail.
When the judge does review the matter and issue the Mandatory Protection Order, in nearly all counties in Colorado, the Mandatory Protection Order will prevent the defendant from having contact with the alleged victim, as well as preventing them from returning home. Unless modified, this Mandatory Protection Order prevents even married couples from living together, co-parenting their children, or even speaking with each other about normal things. While it is possible to modify a Mandatory Protection Order to permit a defendant to speak with the alleged victim (often a spouse or significant other), or even return home, one’s chances of successfully modifying a protection order are greatly increased with the aid of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Criminal Defense firm Patterson Weaver Law, LLC has successfully helped countless defendants, and even alleged victims, successfully modify these oppressive and intrusive Mandatory Protection Orders.
What Are Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Offenses?
While clients often think that “domestic violence” is a criminal charge, that is not actually accurate. In Colorado, the legal term “domestic violence” is a sentencing enhancer or aggravator that can be attached to nearly any type of crime, whether a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony. When a case is designated as “domestic violence,” enhanced sentencing penalties are triggered including mandatory counseling and treatment, Second Amendment repercussions, and other penalties and repercussions.
Common misdemeanor domestic violence charges include harassment, third-degree assault, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, and telephone obstruction. Any of these charges is more significant if it is charged as domestic violence, even if it is charged as a misdemeanor.
Importantly, no matter how minor the incidents, three prior misdemeanor domestic violence convictions in Colorado can result in you being labeled as a habitual domestic violence offender, and subsequent charges may be charged as felonies if the prosecutor believes it appropriate.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence?
Even a first offense domestic violence conviction can create significant obstacles and obligations for defendants, as you will need to follow any conditions attached to your domestic violence protection order, complete months of costly domestic violence counseling, and comply with supervised probation. Domestic violence misdemeanor convictions can also carry time in jail.
What Can a Domestic Violence Charge Prevent Me From Doing?
Unfortunately, domestic violence convictions have repercussions on your life that go beyond the criminal penalties. Any domestic violence conviction will prevent you from owning or possessing firearms, effectively taking away your Second Amendment rights. While this can be a serious problem for anyone that hunts or shoots for sport, or owns weapons for home defense, it can be devastating to defendants in the military, that work as defense contractors, or are members of law enforcement. Any domestic violence plea or conviction for defendants that work in these areas may well mean the end of an otherwise honorable and promising career.
Consult an Experienced Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Attorney
Colorado law, and the law enforcement agencies in El Paso County and Colorado Springs, take domestic violence incidents very seriously. If you are facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges, you need to take them seriously as well. Protect your life and livelihood by hiring an experienced and aggressive Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney immediately. Don’t hesitate, the consequences of a guilty plea or verdict can seriously affect your life and your future. Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer Patterson Weaver and our team have successfully defended hundreds of people charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, contact us today so that we can discuss how we can help you in your situation.
Misdemeanor criminal defense lawyer Patterson Weaver and our office represent people in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Teller County, Pueblo, and the surrounding area. Contact us today.