Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
The term “Vonnie’s Law” refers to the recent state law overhaul of Colorado’s stalking statute under CRS 18-3-602. Under this law, suspects arrested for stalking must go before a judge prior to posting bail. This may take several days. During this wait, the suspect remains in custody and away from the alleged victims.1
In 2010, Vonnie Flores was shot and killed by her stalker of five years. Earlier she had reported him, resulting in his arrest for violating a court order of protection. But he was able to bail out of jail after only three hours. Shortly afterward, he shot Vonnie and committed suicide.
Vonnie’s sister lobbied to strengthen the state’s stalking laws. Perhaps Vonnie would never have died had different procedures been in place that afforded added protections to stalking victims. Eventually, Vonnie’s sister and other victim advocates succeeded in getting Vonnie’s Law passed though the state general assembly and changing Colorado criminal law.2
There are three types of behavior that qualify as the crime of stalking under Colorado law:
“Immediate family members” under the Colorado Revised Statutes include the person’s
A “credible threat” means a threat, action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of his/her immediate family or of someone the person has or has had a continuing relationship with. This threat does not need to be directly expressed or a physical action as long as the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person to be in such fear of the person’s safety.
And the stalking can take any form of communication, including
Before Vonnie’s law, there was less of a distinction between the Colorado laws for stalking and harassment. Now, disturbing behavior that use to pass for harassment requires the district attorney of the applicable judicial district to press stalking charges, which carries more severe penalties than harassment does.3
Before Vonnie’s law, stalking arrestees could bail out as soon as they were booked. Now, stalking defendants have to go before a judge prior to bonding out. During this court hearing, the defendant has to sign the mandatory protective order in the judge’s presence. Since stalking suspects must see a judge to acknowledge the restraining order before they can bail out, they have to wait in jail longer than they would otherwise.4
A first-time offense of stalking is a Colorado class 5 felony. As an extraordinary risk crime, the sentence is:
A second or subsequent offense (within 7 years) is a Colorado class 4 felony. The punishment is:
Meanwhile, stalking in violation of an outstanding protection order – or a condition of parole or probation – is a class 4 felony, even if it is a first offense. The penalties are:
And any sentence for the violation of the court order will be served consecutively with the stalking sentence, not concurrently.
Unlike harassment, a stalking criminal case is never a misdemeanor.5
There are various strategies criminal defense lawyers can use to show prosecutors have insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. These include arguing that:
Common evidence criminal defense attorneys rely on include
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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