If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime it is important that you enlist the help of a domestic violence lawyer in your area. When the police are contacted in a domestic violence incident, it is mandatory that an arrest takes place if there is any suspicion whatsoever. This mandatory arrest can prevent you from seeing your children, deny you the right to bare firearms and have other severe consequences for you and your family.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence usually involves physical assault and battery; however, many other acts can equate to domestic violence charges, including emotional abuse, threats, damage of personal property and economic abuse. By definition, domestic violence includes any act of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation or revenge against an intimate partner. For instance, if a woman is upset with her spouse for cheating and slashes his tires for revenge, this would be considered an act of domestic violence. It would not matter if the spouse was present at the time of the crime.
What are the potential consequences of a domestic violence charge in Colorado?
Domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony charge. There are some general guidelines used to make this determination such as, whether or not the victim is a child, whether or not a child is present, the severity of injuries and the criminal history of the defendant.
- Treatment – Court orders in Colorado will always require the completion of a treatment program and evaluation in both misdemeanor and felony cases. The court can require treatment plans and programs for first time offenders as well as require them for deferred judgment cases.
- Fines and Fees – Fines usually include court fines and fees, treatment costs as well as the cost of probation if granted. These fees will be required in full before probation is complete.
- Gun Rights – Both state and federal law mandates that anyone convicted of a domestic Violence charge cannot possess a firearm. This is a lifetime ban.
- No contact orders – If you are arrested for a domestic violence crime you will receive a mandatory restraining order. This order means that you cannot have any contact with the victim on record during the period of the restraining order. This usually lasts at least seven days and a court hearing will have to take place. During this time frame, it is important that the defendant do not contact the victim in any way, or they may face new criminal charges. Contact through third-party friends and family is also prohibited and may result in new charges.
- Jail sentencing – If the crime is severe enough, or if the defendant is considered a habitual offender, the prosecuting district attorney may seek a prison sentence. A misdemeanor domestic violence charge can result in a jail sentence of up to two years maximum. Many of these crimes are probation eligible and sentencing can be reduced or eliminated with proper defense. A felony domestic violence charge can result in incarceration in a state or federal prison facility for one year to life, depending on the offense, prior convictions and other factors surrounding the incident. If you are facing a felony domestic violence charge, it is important that you discuss your defense possibilities and sentencing options with an experienced domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
What should you do if you are charged with a domestic violence crime?
- Remain silent – Do not try to defend yourself during the time of the arrest. These moments are usually emotionally charged and may negatively effect your case. Do not make any statements to the prosecutor, District Attorney, deputies or judges.
- Ask for an attorney – Buy yourself time for consultation and case review. Ask them to provide you an attorney or hire a domestic violence lawyer that is experienced in your area. This will not impact your case negatively. This is a basic civil right.
- Do not contact the victim at all for any reason. This will result in new charges and create a case against you. Follow all court orders and directions.
- Take your charges seriously. Do not possess firearms, drugs or alcohol while awaiting your trial. Any infraction of the law during this time frame will increase the charges against you and create a case for the prosecuting attorney. Remember, the victim cannot drop the charges. The District Attorney will pursue the case regardless of the victim’s request.
Domestic violence charges can change your life. If you are looking for a domestic violence lawyer in Grand Junction or the Mesa County surrounding areas, please call LaCroix & Hand P.C. for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and have been serving Western Colorado since Tom LaCroix founded the firm in 1977. You deserve an attorney who is committed to professional service that will advocate vigorously for your interests. Learn more about LaCroix & Hand domestic violence attorneys or visit our contact page to request a consultation.