Colorado domestic violence charges are extremely serious. The arrest triggers an automatic restraining order against you. And even a misdemeanor conviction can strip you of your gun rights forever.
Our Denver domestic violence lawyers find all the evidence that the police ignored to show that you did nothing wrong and perhaps were a victim yourself. And we aggressively negotiate with prosecutors in pursuit of a substantial charge reduction or dismissal, which we can usually achieve without a trial.
1. How can I fight the charges?
The best way to defend against criminal charges always depends on the specific charge and available evidence. For example, three common defenses to Colorado DV assault charges are:
- You acted in lawful self-defense. You are allowed to use proportional physical force as long as you reasonably believe it is necessary to deflect an attack.
- The incident was an accident. Even if you are in the midst of an argument with your ex – and you accidentally close a door on them when you did not realize your ex was right behind you – you committed no crime as long as there was no criminal intent.
- The accuser made up the entire story. False allegations happen a lot during divorces and child custody battles as a way to get an upper hand in court. Sometimes victims even self-inflict injuries to back up their fake account.
When crafting a defense, our Denver domestic violence lawyers search for all the evidence that demonstrates your innocence and the accuser’s un-trustworthiness. This typically takes the form of:
- videos or photographs;
- recorded communications, such as texts, voicemails, and emails;
- testimony from eyewitnesses;
- testimony from a couple’s counselor; and/or
- testimony from a medical expert who believes the injuries were self-inflicted.
No matter the charge, Colorado prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction at trial. So we try to raise this reasonable doubt by showing prosecutors all the ways their evidence is unreliable, inconsistent, and inadequate.1
If we can show the prosecutors that they would probably lose at trial, they may be willing to reduce the charge to a lesser offense or dismiss it altogether.
2. What is the worst-case scenario if I am convicted?
It depends on the underlying Colorado charge. Predictably, DV assault with a deadly weapon – which is a felony – carries a much harsher penalty than DV harassment – which is only a misdemeanor.
But in every case, we fight for the best-case scenario where you remain out of custody and with a clean criminal record.
While your DV case is ongoing, remember that you have a mandatory protection order against you. Violating a protective order (CRS 18-6-803.5) is a class 1 misdemeanor, even if your DV case is ultimately dismissed.
Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by:
- Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines.2
So be sure to avoid any contact with the “victim”, surrender your guns, and follow all the protection order’s terms while your case is open.
3. What if the victim recants?
If the alleged victim in your DV case takes back their story and admits to lying, Colorado prosecutors will continue to press criminal charges. Prosecutors always think that recanting victims are being pressured by family or just want you out of jail so you can stay at your job and earn money.
As your case progresses however, the D.A. may realize they have insufficient evidence to prove you guilty without the victim’s cooperation. This is especially in common in cases where there is no physical evidence of abuse or harassment.
In short, a recanting victim will not stop a DV case at first. But it may cause prosecutors to drop the case later on if their other evidence is too weak.3
4. Can I get bail in DV cases?
Colorado courts usually do grant bail release to defendants facing domestic violence-related charges (except in cases or rape or murder).
If you cannot afford the bail amount, you can hire a bail bondsman to put up the entire amount for a 10%-15% fee. We can also request a bail hearing where we ask the judge to lower the bail or to release you on your own recognizance without having to pay anything at all.
In more serious felony cases, judges may require you to wear an electronic monitoring anklet and not leave your home (“house arrest“) while your case is open.
5. How long do domestic violence cases last?
In Colorado, domestic violence cases are “fast tracked.” This means that your arraignment occurs at your first court hearing instead of weeks after the arrest (as with most other cases).
Therefore, most DV cases can be resolved within one or two months. But our Denver domestic violence attorneys take as long as is necessary to get the best resolution possible.
6. Do I need an attorney?
Yes. In addition to carrying high fines and incarceration, a Colorado domestic violence conviction will cause you to lose your gun rights, have an unsealable criminal record, and be deported (if you are a non-citizen). The stakes are too high for you to gamble your future with a public defender that does not have the time or resources to give 100% to your case.
Our Denver domestic violence lawyers are fixtures at the 2nd Judicial District Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. Prosecutors know from experience that we do not back down until we achieve the most favorable resolution possible. So by relying on our defense team, you are maximizing the odds of winning a significant charge reduction or full dismissal.
- See, for example, People v. Smith (Colo. 2018) 416 P.3d 886. See, for example, People v. Throssel (2021) 2021 Colo. Discipl. LEXIS 61.
- CRS 18-6-803.7; CRS 18-6-801(3). See, for example, People v. Delfeld (2021) 2021 COA 131.
- See CRS 18-6-801(3).