A misdemeanor conviction can significantly affect your future. However, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can have even more impact on your life and future than most run of the mill misdemeanors. You should not assume that since a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, you should simply just plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence or forego retaining a criminal defense attorney. A skilled and experienced domestic violence defense attorney such as Patterson Weaver 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 the surrounding area.What is Domestic Violence?
In Colorado, domestic violence is not a separate offense in and of itself. Instead, it 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 attached 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 set fire to your spouse's belongings as punishment for a suspected affair, that would be domestic violence. Similarly, if you beat your girlfriend's dog in anger, that would also be domestic violence.
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. In Colorado, officers no longer have the ability to exercise discretion in domestic violence investigations. Even if the officer believes the incident minor, or even if the alleged victim does not want the defendant arrested, an officer that believes he or she has probable cause that a domestic violence incident occurred 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. In fact, most prosecutors believe themselves barred from dismissing domestic violence charges unless they do not believe there is even prima facie evidence that an incident occurred.
Once an individual has been arrested for domestic violence, they must be held in custody until a judge reviews the matter, sets bond, and issues a Mandatory Protection Order (MPO) under C.R.S. § 18-1-1001. Unfortunately, if you are arrested on Friday, a judge will not hear the matter and set bond until the next business day at the earliest. When the judge does advise you, set bond, and issue the Mandatory Protection Order, in most all counties in Colorado, this 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 attorney. Criminal defense lawyer Patterson Weaver has successfully helped countless defendants, and even alleged victims, successfully modify these repressive and intrusive Mandatory Protection Orders.Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Offenses
There are four categories of offenses in Colorado: petty offenses, misdemeanors, drug felonies, and felonies. The severity of the incident and the elements of the specific statute in question determine what charge level may apply in a particular case. However, the majority of domestic violence cases in Colorado are charged as misdemeanors, sometimes for very minor incidents.
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. 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. In more serious cases or for second and subsequent offenses, the Court does have the ability to put you in jail of a period of time, depending on the level of the charge.
Additionally, 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 a career.Consult an Experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer
Colorado law, and the law enforcement agencies in El Paso County and Colorado Springs, take domestic violence charges 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 criminal defense attorney immediately. Don't hesitate, the consequences of a guilty plea or verdict can seriously affect your life and your future. Domestic violence defense lawyer Patterson Weaver has defended hundreds of people charged with the same type of case you are facing, with a high level of success.
Contact Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyer Patterson Weaver today at (719) 264-9858 or via our online form. Depending on the type of case, Patterson Weaver Law represents clients in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Monument, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Security-Widefield, Palmer Lake, Old Colorado City, Woodland Park, Divide, Cripple Creek, Fairplay, Salida, Buena Vista, Westcliffe, Silver Cliff, Canon City, and Castle Rock, as well as other areas of El Paso, Chaffee, Pueblo, Teller, Lincoln, and Park Counties.