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.
What Class of Crime is Domestic Violence in Colorado?
In Colorado, domestic violence (DV) is not its own separate crime. Instead, it is a sentencing enhancement that attaches to an underlying crime if the two people involved were in an intimate relationship.
For example, harassment (CRS 18-9-111) is usually a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado. If the harasser and victim were ever married or dating, then the harasser would still face the same class 2 misdemeanor penalties of up to 120 days in jail and/or up to $750 in fines. But in addition, the judge may also order a DV evaluation and treatment as well as a protection order.1
However, a fourth-time conviction involving DV triggers a separate habitual domestic violence charge. This is its own class 5 felony, carrying:
Note that people can face a domestic violence enhancement for property crimes as well as violent crimes. For instance, setting fire to an ex-boyfriend’s car would be domestic violence arson. Or beating an ex-wife’s dog would be domestic violence animal cruelty (CRS 18-9-202).4
Prosecutors do not drop DV charges just because a victim recants.
What if the victim recants?
If an alleged domestic violence victim takes back their story, the prosecutors will still press charges. This is because prosecutors assume victims are recanting only because:
Family is pressuring them to recant their accusation; and/or
The victims prefer that the defendant be out of jail to continue earning money.
However, prosecutors may eventually elect to drop charges if they lack sufficient evidence – such as surveillance video or eyewitness testimony – to prove that domestic violence occurred.
Can I get my record sealed?
Unless the case was in municipal court, DV-related convictions are unsealable in Colorado. They remain on the defendant’s criminal record forever.
Note that if the DV-related case gets dismissed, then the defendant can pursue a record seal immediately – no matter what Colorado court it occurred in.5
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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