There is a common misconception regarding domestic violence laws in Denver that a charge indicates someone being violent during the event. In Colorado, a domestic violence case means that someone acted or threatened a violent act upon someone with whom he or she shared an intimate relationship. However, domestic violence laws also include any crime committed as a means of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge against an intimate partner.
Mandatory Arrest Laws
For most crimes occurring in Colorado, the police officer retains discretion as to when and where to charge and arrest someone. However, in domestic violence cases, an officer must arrest someone if the officer has probable cause that this person has committed an act of domestic violence. Once arrested, the suspect will be placed in jail and cannot be given a bond until the victim has been informed of the bond hearing and has been given the right to be heard.
No Dropped Charges
If someone reports a domestic violence crime and then decides to no longer pursue the case, he or she will be unable to drop the charges. As a result, dropped charges cannot serve as a domestic violence defense. However, a domestic violence lawyer may still be able to get the case dismissed. In Colorado, the district attorney makes the ultimate call about whether the case will continue forward. Except under very unusual circumstances, the judge cannot decide to continue a case against the accused. A domestic violence attorney can negotiate with the district attorney regarding plea deals and dismissal of the case.
Elevated Felony Charges
If someone in Colorado has committed three previous acts of domestic violence, then he or she is considered a habitual domestic violence offender. As a result, any subsequent charge that would otherwise be a domestic violence misdemeanor is raised to a Class Five felony. This carries a presumptive sentencing range of one to three years, so it is important for someone to consult with a domestic violence lawyer for any domestic violence charge. The district attorney can amend initial charges if he or she discovers the prior domestic violence history.