When tempers rise, emotions erupt, and individuals respond impulsively, domestic disputes can arise. They also tend to escalate rather quickly. Once charged with domestic violence, the penalties you face if convicted can be severe. Multiple convictions may also land you a felony domestic violence charge. A conviction for felony domestic violence can derail your life – but it doesn’t always have to. With the right Denver criminal defense lawyer on your side, it’s possible not only to minimize the penalties you face, but even potentially get your charges dropped or dismissed.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Colorado?
When most people think of domestic violence, it brings to mind the image of an individual hitting or otherwise physically attacking their partner. While this is certainly a case of domestic violence, Colorado doesn’t limit the definition to only violent crimes. Many crimes, specifically those used as a method of “coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge” (C.R.S. § 18-6-800.3) can fall into the category of domestic violence. For example, harassment, property damage, or menacing – all which typically involve no physical harm to the victim – can be considered domestic violence in Colorado if used for the purpose of causing fear or intimidation in a partner.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Colorado?
Legal statutes include two primary classifications of charges: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies, which are more serious crimes, create the stereotypical image of domestic violence, and being convicted of one can lead to a realm of consequences, such as prison and the significant reduction of parental rights, among other things.
Misdemeanors, on the other hand, typically result from less serious crimes. A misdemeanor crime of domestic violence entails that you have committed a crime or are suspected of having committed a crime that was intended to instill fear of harm within a significant other. If convicted of a misdemeanor by this manner, serious felony consequences can be avoided, but a domestic violence record of any kind still prevents you from owning firearms and can often prevent any further contact with victims.
Because misdemeanors are less severe, a non-violent misdemeanor conviction results in far less penalties than does a felony conviction, and as a result, is often considered a better deal for offenders. However, repetition of these misdemeanors can lead to much more serious consequences.
Habituation of Domestic Violence Charges
If enough of these misdemeanor convictions build up over time, they can increase the charges to a felony. According to statute C.R.S. § 18-6-801(7), if a defendant has three prior convictions, one more would be considered a felony. The defendant would also be considered a “habitual” domestic violence offender at this point.
This law took effect in 2016, so it is possible to have accumulated more than three domestic violence misdemeanors before then without the charge increasing to a felony. However, in this case, any more would constitute eligibility for a felony as it is above three priors.
The intent of this law is to avoid habitual domestic violence offenses by having the punishment act as a deterrent and encouraging those who do face domestic violence charges to seek change rather than become repeat offenders.
What To Do If You’re Charged with Felony Domestic Violence
Facing a felony domestic violence charge in Colorado can be terrifying. Beyond the stress of a criminal process, one also has to handle the fear of prison time, loss of child visitation rights, and the implementation of protective orders.
If you’ve been charged with felony domestic violence, the most important thing to do is speak honestly with an attorney who can help you in getting the charges dropped, facilitating a plea deal with the prosecution, or fighting for you if your case goes to trial. Your attorney may encourage you to enroll in anger management classes or talk with a professional or support group as documentation that you are seeking change. Following through on support would not only benefit you but your legal case as well, as your efforts to change may help your legal outcome through a plea deal.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges
Some common defense strategies for domestic violence charges in Colorado include proving the victim’s claims are wrong or vindictive, showing that the evidence against you was in defense of yourself or your children, or demonstrating a lack of evidence to prove the charges. If charges are pressed, contact a Denver domestic violence defense attorney to discuss legal strategies best suited for your case.
Contact Denver Domestic Violence Attorney Jeff Weeden Today
If you face felony domestic violence charges in Colorado, it’s important that you obtain the skill and experience of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. When you hire Jeff Weeden, you’ll get a legal professional who has experience working in both Colorado state and federal courtrooms. At WeedenLaw, we take on a variety of criminal cases, from white-collar crime charges in Colorado to homicide cases. If you’re wondering when to hire a criminal defense attorney, the time is now – don’t put it off any longer. Fill out our simple online contact form or call 720-307-4330 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney at WeedenLaw today.