Colorado’s handling of domestic violence

Under Colorado law, domestic violence can involve trespassing, robbery and more in addition to physical violence.

The Denver Post recently reported on the arrest of the son of the Denver Bronco's owner. The man has been charged with two Class 3 misdemeanors for alleged domestic violence after he is said to have pushed his girlfriend into a wall. This case involves an action that many people commonly associate with domestic violence.

However, such charges can arise from many other situations that do not involve direct physical contact or violence. In Colorado Springs, for example, a local police officer was arrested for suspected domestic violence. According to a report in The Gazette, the man allegedly went into his former girlfriend's home after she had told him not to come there any longer. Even with no reports of harm or contact, he was charged with a first degree domestic violence offense and taken off of active duty at his job.

The broader view of domestic violence

According to the Domestic Violence Benchbook published by the Colorado Bar, domestic violence can include any number of things. These include sexual harassment, destruction of property, animal cruelty, arson and trespassing on private property.

The variety of acts that can result in domestic violence charges challenges some of the stereotypes held about people arrested for domestic violence. Many responsible persons can find themselves accused of this form of crime without being seen as aggressive persons. In addition, women can also be arrested for domestic violence just as can their male counterparts.

Colorado's penalties for domestic violence

Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanors or felonies in Colorado. The Denver Post notes that four or more such offenses are felonies. These convictions can result in up to three years in prison. These sentences are generally reserved for the most serious cases.

Even misdemeanor crimes can cause defendants to spend time in jail or a community corrections facility. Probation can also be required. When determining a sentence, the defendant's previous criminal history, if any, is one of the factors taken into account. Also considered are the age and character of the defendant and whether or not the person is thought to be dangerous.

A defendant can apply for a sentence comprised only of probation and no associated jail or corrections facility time. Probation can last up to five years for misdemeanors and may be required to be supervised as well.

What defendants should do

Because so many things lead a person to be accused of a serious crime, the right help is needed when such charges are filed. Defendants should seek the involvement of an experienced lawyer promptly.

Keywords: family law, domestic violence, restraining, no contact