Being accused of domestic violence could be a nightmare in Colorado. And, if one wants to fight off the charges, it’s important to know the laws and the consequences in detail. The law makers of the state have defined domestic violence as a threat or act of violence against an individual with whom the aggressor had or has an intimate relationship. It also includes any other crime or municipal ordinance violation that has been committed against a person or against property to control or intimidate a person with whom the aggressor has or had an intimate relationship. There are several potential criminal charges associated with domestic violence, ranging from low level misdemeanor to high level felony, also including multiple felonies and misdemeanor. If a person is found guilty at trial, he might have to face severe legal penalties, which varies in nature depending on the charges.
The legal penalties for domestic violence conviction in Colorado includes:
The convicted person could be confined to county jail or prison for domestic violence. Although not every sentence includes jail or prison, the defendant must keep in mind that this could be one of the consequences if he is found guilty at trial or accepts a plea offer from district attorney. Jail or prison are more likely to be the consequences in case of a second or subsequent misdemeanor charge and a first time felony conviction.
In addition to any sentence, the convicted is sometimes required to participate in a domestic violence evaluation and has to follow the recommendations. He is also ordered to complete the domestic violence treatment program, the minimum of which consists of 36 hours of treatment and is usually completed by engaging with the same for two hours in a week. The cost of evaluation and treatment is to be paid by the convicted. Some cases also include mental health evaluation or parenting classes.
Conviction or acceptance of a plea agreement to misdemeanor domestic violence charge by a person who doesn’t have a prior criminal record may also lead to probation, granted by the court. A probation officer is assigned, who supervises the activities of the person, helping him to avoid situations where new criminal charges may arise. In some cases, unsupervised probation is also granted where the defendant doesn’t have an officer to check and is not required to pay the probation supervision fees. On failing to complete the probation requirements, as ordered by the court, the probation can be revoked resulting in additional penalties.
In certain cases, the non citizens convicted for domestic violence are deported. Thus before entering into any plea, the defendant should be aware of this.
Evaluation and Treatment of Substance Abuse
In cases where an illicit drug or alcohol led to domestic violence charges, the person is subjected to substance abuse evaluation to determine if and to what extent the person is using substances. It also evaluates if the defendant is suitable for drug or alcohol treatment or not. If the person is found suitable, appropriate treatment is recommended.
In certain cases, the court may order the convicted person to attend and complete anger management program. However, many individual begin attending anger management classes after being arrested or charged with domestic violence. But the defendant must know that the criminal court may or may not give him any credit for this.
In every criminal case, a mandatory protection order is issued against the defendant. This type of restraining order remains in effect till the case is complete and restrains the accused from molesting, harassing, threatening, intimidating or tampering with any victim or witness to an alleged crime. However, it doesn’t restrain the person from communication with an alleged victim or witness.
For anyone willing to fight the domestic violence charges, knowing the laws and penalties associated with the crime is important. However, if the case or the legal system seems too much complicated it’s always better to consult an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer.