Defense Against Colorado Domestic Violence And Assault Charges
It is not uncommon for rather innocuous behavior between two people—such as yelling, one too many unwelcome phone calls or things said in anger—to result in one or both parties being arrested and charged with crimes. In an effort to protect victims of domestic abuse, the state passed a law that requires police officers responding to a 911 call to arrest someone if they suspect domestic violence has occurred. Once you are issued a citation that includes a domestic violence sentence enhancer, it is extremely difficult for the district attorney to drop that portion of the charges.
If someone calls 911 and the officers see evidence of a disagreement or violence and determine that an “intimate relationship” exists, someone is going to be arrested and taken to jail, regardless of what statements are made when the police arrive.
If you are arrested for violation of any state’s statute that includes a domestic violence sentence enhancer, it is important that you obtain competent legal counsel immediately.
How Colorado Defines Domestic Violence
In Colorado, domestic violence is defined as conduct that is meant to “coerce or intimidate” someone involved in an “intimate relationship,” meaning a sexual relationship either past or present. At the scene of the disturbance, the police officer will ask the complaining party whether or not he/she is or ever was involved in an “intimate relationship” with the offender. Once the determination is made and a domestic violence charge is included on the citation, the district attorney does not have the discretion to remove domestic violence in any plea negotiation.
Protecting Your Freedom And Your Reputation
If you have been accused of domestic violence, attorney Elaine Lukic can make sure your side of the story is heard. She is a former sexual assault/domestic violence district attorney with extensive experience in prosecuting and defending domestic violence cases. Because of her knowledge in this area and the vast number of cases that she has handled, she is aware of the serious implications these charges can have on a defendant’s personal life and professional career.
In Colorado, a domestic violence conviction cannot be expunged and stays on your record forever. I believe that the falsely accused and first-time offenders who are remorseful and willing to go into rehab should not be treated as criminals and suffer consequences for the rest of their lives. Often, professional licenses and personal relationships are at stake.
The Serious Implications Of A Domestic Violence Enhancer To Your Charges
The negative impact of domestic violence in criminal charges is not always immediately apparent. For example, a defendant may accept a plea that involves a deferred sentence, which is typical in offenses that do not involve physical injury. After the period of time determined for the deferment—usually two years—if you have no other violations of the law, the conviction is overturned. However, although the accompanying charge—often it’s third-degree assault or harassment —is overturned, the domestic violence sentence enhancer remains on your criminal record indefinitely.
A domestic violence conviction has several negative ancillary implications:
- You can not own a gun under any circumstances.
- A non-citizen with immigration reporting requirements will likely be deported.
- Your charge must be reported to employers in several professions, such as banking and securities, aviation, medicine, and education.
Even with a plea of a two-year deferred sentence, the defendant will be required to pay for and complete 36 weekly domestic violence classes.