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Who Can Claim Domestic Violence?

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on March 25, 2021

Being accused of domestic violence is not something to take lightly. That kind of claim could destroy your career, relationships, and reputation. That is why knowing who can legally make such a claim in Colorado may help prove your innocence.

Assault vs. Domestic Violence

In most states, the crimes of assault and domestic violence are separate from one another. You may be charged with one or the other, or both at the same time, depending on the circumstances. However, that is not the case in Colorado. Under Colorado law, domestic violence is actually an aggravating factor of assault. As in, not every assault will be charged as domestic violence, but every domestic violence charge will be considered an assault crime.

If the circumstances around the assault allow it, then the district attorney in charge of the trial may choose to label the crime as domestic violence. This will enhance the penalties that the alleged criminal faces upon conviction, adding further stipulations and extra time in prison.

Defining Intimate Relationship

The key that turns an assault crime into domestic violence is whether the victim was “in an intimate relationship” with the alleged abuser. An “intimate relationship” does not mean a current romantic or sexual relationship between the victim and the abuser. In 2010, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in the case of People vs. Disher that there does not need to be a sexual component at all to prove an intimate relationship.

Due to this ruling, these groups could be considered intimate:

  • A former or current spouse of the accused
  • A former or current romantic partner of the accused
  • The other parent of the accused’s child

If a person has this kind of relationship with you, then he or she could accuse you of domestic violence. Keep in mind that you do not need to be in a current relationship with someone for an assault to turn into domestic violence. A former relationship, even if it is with someone you have not spoken to in quite some time, is enough to qualify as “intimate” under the law.

This means that if you get into a heated argument with an ex, that ex could claim you committed domestic violence. Again, if an assault charge is combined with the aggravating factor of domestic violence, it means that you will face several more years behind bars.

After an Arrest for Domestic Violence

If you have been accused of and arrested for domestic violence, you are likely feeling panicked. Panicked for your future, your reputation, and for your relationship with friends and family. This kind of accusation is more than enough to leave your life in shambles, especially since a conviction for first-degree assault carries a maximum penalty of 32 years in prison.

You need an aggressive defense team that won’t rest until they get you the best possible outcome in your case. Thankfully, you can find such a team at Peters & Nolan, LLC. We are skilled and experienced Grand Junction criminal defense attorneys, and have long fought for the rights of our clients. To get a top defense, call our firm at (970) 243-4357 and begin your free consultation.

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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