Colorado has extremely strict laws regarding domestic violence. It does not matter if it was your significant other, a neighbor, or another person who made the call; if the authorities believe there is evidence of a violent domestic dispute, they will make an arrest. Furthermore, even if the alleged victim was not the reporting party, a prosecutor cannot simply drop domestic violence charges against you.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Colorado, you need to know what defense strategies are available to you.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is any violence or abuse that is threatened or committed against the following individuals:
- Significant others (current or former)
- Spouses (current or former)
- Biological parents of children
This abuse can manifest as emotional, physical, mental, and financial abuse.
Examples of acts that can be classified as domestic violence include:
- Threats of physical harm
- Assault and battery
- Emotional terrorizing
- Unwanted sexual contact
- Threats or violence against children
- Threats or violence against pets
- Damage to property
What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
Domestic violence technically is not its own crime in Colorado. Instead, it is a sentence enhancement. For example, an assault charge can have domestic violence as an aggravating factor, and the penalties of an assault conviction would be enhanced.
Domestic violence sentence enhancements may include:
- A mandatory protection order
- Mandated attendance in a domestic violence treatment program
- A mandatory treatment evaluation
- Weapons restrictions
- Deportation of non-citizens
- Habitual offender designation after four convictions—a class 5 felony
What Is Colorado’s Policy on Arrest in Domestic Violence Cases?
Colorado has a mandatory arrest law in suspected cases of domestic violence or abuse. When a police officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence or abuse has occurred, under Colorado Revised Statute § 18-6-803.6, the alleged abuser will be arrested and charged. This is regardless of whether or not the alleged victim wants to press charges.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Colorado?
Can the Alleged Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
Once law enforcement becomes involved in a domestic violence incident, a victim cannot have your charges dropped. Even if a neighbor or another person reported the incident, if the police suspect violence has occurred, the victim cannot prevent the arrest or charges.
Can the Prosecutor Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
The prosecutor cannot drop domestic violence charges against you just because a victim does not want to press charges. Once charges have been filed, Colorado’s “no-drop” policy is enacted.
What Is the “No-Drop” Policy in Colorado?
Along with upholding a mandatory arrest policy, Colorado has a mandatory prosecution policy in domestic violence cases. This mandatory prosecution policy is commonly referred to as the “no drop” policy. It is mandated by law that the prosecutor must prosecute a domestic violence case once it has been filed.
Can an Attorney Get Your Charges Dropped?
Thankfully, despite these stringent laws, a skilled criminal defense attorney with expertise in domestic violence cases will have strategies that could lead to the dismissal of your domestic violence case. Below, we will discuss some possible defenses that could lead to your charges being dropped.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Strengthen Your Defense
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Colorado, you need to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer gives you the best chance of having your charges dropped. Your legal counsel could argue:
- There is insufficient evidence of domestic abuse. Without physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, a history of domestic disturbances, or other compelling evidence that domestic violence has occurred, the prosecutor will have to drop the charges.
- You are the victim, not the accuser. In some cases, the true abuser is the one who claims to be the victim of violence. They may threaten to involve law enforcement in order to attempt to manipulate and intimidate you, claiming that the police would not believe your side of the story. They may self-inflict their injuries. Your attorney could bring in expert witnesses to demonstrate that you could not have caused the injuries they sustained or that your own injuries are defensive wounds.
- The alleged victim is not credible or is uncooperative. If the alleged victim is not honest, changes their story, or refuses to speak to authorities, your attorney can move to have your case dismissed.
Call a Colorado Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Your future hinges on the action you take immediately following an arrest for domestic violence and the experience of the legal team handling your defense. When you work with a skilled Colorado domestic violence attorney, you know you have someone who will fight to have your charges reduced or dropped using strategies developed through years of experience in Colorado courts. These lawyers understand the impact that domestic violence charges can have on your life and livelihood, and they will work diligently to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Reach out today to get started with a free, confidential case evaluation.