Grand Junction Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
Domestic violence has never been treated more seriously than it is today. If Colorado police suspect an act of violence took place, they will make an arrest and sort out the details later. While this can help some vulnerable victims, misunderstandings can lead to undeserved charges in other cases.
If you have been accused of any form of domestic violence, then you need to seek legal help right away. It may be possible to avoid charges being filed at all, or to reduce the charges before you have to go to court. At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we are dedicated to defending clients from false accusations and overzealous prosecution, and we have a proven track record of success. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free and confidential evaluation.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18-6-801, domestic violence is defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” This is a broad definition, and can include violence against property or an animal belonging to the victim, when the violence is used as an act of intimidation or revenge.
Colorado legislation has a lot to say about domestic violence, describing it as cyclical in nature, and therefore the courts allow past evidence of abuse to be admitted as evidence in new cases to show a pattern of behavior. This means an arrest for domestic violence can be extremely detrimental, and leave a stain on your permanent record for years to come.
One key aspect of domestic violence is that it was committed against a person in an intimate relationship with the perpetrator. Violence against any other party would be considered assault, which is a separate crime. But what is an intimate relationship, and who can accuse you of domestic violence? Well, according to Colorado, an intimate relationship is one that involves a romantic attachment or a shared parenting responsibility. Groups that usually fall under this category include:
- A spouse, current or former
- A significant other, current or former
- A co-parent, both of biological and adopted children
You do not have to live with the person for an assault against them to be considered domestic violence. On top of that, while a sexual relationship can be used as an indicator that a relationship qualifies as intimate, it is not required. This means that disproving that you ever slept with the alleged victim would not qualify as a valid defense.
Furthermore, simply living with someone does not mean that you have an intimate relationship with them. For example, if you are accused of attacking a roommate, then that would likely be charged as assault, not domestic violence. However, if you and that roommate had a prior sexual relationship, then any aggression may be considered a domestic violence crime.
Colorado is one of a few states that have a mandatory arrest law. When law enforcement is called to a location for a suspected incident involving domestic violence, the attending officer must make an arrest if there is probable cause to believe a crime has taken place. This places a tremendous burden on police officers to make quick calls without understanding the full situation.
While this law is meant to protect true victims from being subject to additional abuse, it leads to false accusations, mistaken arrests, and unavoidable consequences. Once an arrest has been made, a prosecutor must bring charges unless the prosecutor can demonstrate there is not enough evidence to gain a conviction. Many people on the Western Slope, who might otherwise never have been arrested, are now facing lifelong penalties.
In Colorado, domestic violence is not a standalone crime. Instead, it is a sentence enhancer; meaning it can lead to harsher penalties for other crimes. This also means it does not have specific penalties of its own. Instead, if you were arrested for domestic violence, you may also be charged with:
- Child abuse
- Aggravated animal cruelty
…just to name a few. Many violent crimes can be charged alongside domestic violence. On top of that, a conviction will carry a requirement to complete a 36-class treatment program. Repeat offenders face stiffer penalties, including having misdemeanors bumped up to felonies. A fourth conviction of domestic violence, which is considered a class 5 felony, also carries a sentence of:
- Between one and three years in prison
- Two years of mandatory parole
- A fine of up to $100,000
Again, because domestic violence is considered a sentence enhancer, that means those penalties will be added on to the underlying crime.
It is important to know that domestic violence charges can also be associated with mandatory protection orders, meaning the accused will be forbidden from coming into contact with the alleged victim. If you share children, a protection order may limit your freedom to see them as well, or prevent contact altogether. Breaking this protection order, even for reasons such as wanting to see your own children, can result in harsh punishment, including:
- Up to 18 months in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
Orders of protection can be fought, and comprises can be made, especially when children are involved. Even if you are desperate to break the order, remember that doing so could result in you being thrown in jail. Follow the order while working to get it repealed; and the best way to do so is to beat your domestic violence charges in the first place. Doing that requires a rock-solid defense and lawyer by your side.
Domestic violence is a loaded term, one that both the courts and society take seriously. A weak defense against a charge of domestic violence could easily result in you facing a lengthy prison sentence, on top of having your reputation torn apart. There are a few key defenses that a skilled attorney can implement, including:
Building a strong defense is not an easy task, however. While the prosecutors are the ones who have the burden of proof, meaning they must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they will have started building their case against you the moment you were arrested, maybe even before. They will compile every shred of evidence they have on you and do everything in their power to completely tear your reputation apart. That is why working with a top defense team is crucial to your case.
The most effective way to fight domestic violence charges is to hire a legal team with the experience and resources to advocate strongly on your behalf. Our Grand Junction criminal defense attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, have dedicated their careers to protecting people on the Western Slope. We’ll get started right away mounting the best defense possible for you. Call one of our friendly representatives at (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free consultation.
- Charges: Domestic violence and third degree assault
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
- Charges: Domestic violence, criminal mischief, and harassment
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
- Charges: Third degree assault and domestic violence
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
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∗ Not all criminal cases are the same. These results are from actual cases handled by the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. This is not a representation, guarantee or promise as to the results or outcome of your particular matter.
- When a Dispute Gets Ugly: Facing a Domestic Violence Accusation
- Domestic Violence Charges in Grand Junction
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.