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Domestic violence

Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

Sep. 25th 2014

Possible Penalties For Domestic Violence Convictions

Penalties for domestic violence convictions vary. Often times, being accused of a domestic violence crime is stressful, scary, and confusing. Everyone that you encounter in the court system and jail are uncaring as to your specific situation. Often times, the only question that you have is what is the worse possible scenario I am facing, if I am convicted. As domestic violence attorney the main concern I hear from my clients is the threat of additional jail time and/or a potential loss of a job. This post seeks to provide information on the potential penalties for domestic violence convictions in Colorado.

Mandatory Provisions

There are some penalties for domestic violence convictions that are the same regardless of the severity of the crime. These mandatory provisions come into effect if you receive probation. It does not matter if you receive felony, misdemeanor, or municipal court probation.

Mandatory Domestic Violence Evaluation and Treatment

If you receive probation, you will be ordered to complete a mandatory domestic violence evaluation and do all recommended treatments, classes, and therapies. The evaluation will rank you as an A, B or C. “A” being the shortest amount of treatment and C being the longest amount of treatment. There is no evaluation that does not include at least the “A” track for education and therapies.

Mandatory Protection Order

There will be a mandatory protection order in place. The terms of the protection order can very widely in each case. You can be ordered to vacate your home, have not or limited contact with your children, not be allowed to drink alcohol if you are over the legal age, and you may not have a firearm.

Fines / Fees

In addition to the treatment costs, you face additional court fines and fees and the cost of probation. These are assessed to you and must be paid prior to the completion of probation.

Gun Rights

In Colorado, if you are under a mandatory protective order, you are NOT allowed to possess, own, carry, or have any firearms or ammunition. This is a federal as well as state ban and a violation of such could result in additional criminal charges.

Sentencing to Jail or Prison

If and how much jail time you may face depends on if you are convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or municipal court domestic violence crime. If you are charged with a felony domestic violence crime, you may face time in prison or the county jail. The amount of time you face depends on the level of felony offense and if you have any prior convictions for crimes of violence or domestic violence related crimes. Prison time can range from one year to life in prison. This is a large range because Colorado has six classifications of felony offenses with a wide range of potential felony prison sentences. Discuss the possible penalties for domestic violence convictions with a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.

Many domestic violence charges may be eligible for felony probation. If eligible for felony probation, you could face up to 90 days in jail. After which, you would be placed under the supervision of the probation department for two to five years.

A charge of a domestic violence crime as a misdemeanor may carry up to two years in the county jail. Most of these crimes are probation eligible which can reduce the jail time to sixty days plus mandatory probation terms.

Finally, a domestic violence crime as a municipal code violation or a petty offense can carry up to one year in the county jail. These offenses are the maximum period of incarceration and many factors and defense may be available to reduce the amount of jail time or exclude it in its entirety. It is best to contact a domestic violence attorney to review your defense options and possible penalties for domestic violence convictions.

If you, a friend, or family member are being accused of a domestic violence related crime, don’t wait, contact us today for a free consultation to learn the possible penalties for domestic violence convictions. Our law firm number is (303) 747-4686. We are here to help and guide you through a stressful and often unfair process. Penalties for domestic violence convictions

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Domestic violence | Comments Off on Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

NFL Domestic Violence In Colorado

Sep. 23rd 2014

NFL Domestic Violence Policy Considerations

This post does not condone or explain the Ray Rice video or his actions as seen on that video.  We have domestic violence laws to prevent the type of violence that we saw in that video. This posts seeks to provide information regarding domestic violence charges in Colorado and some potential differences with other states.

The NFL’s new penalties for any person convicted of a domestic violence crime marks a growing shift in how our society sees domestic violence related crimes. The NFL has the right to take whatever stances it would like, as it is a private organization. One thing that should be considered is the lack of consistency in domestic violence laws across the states that could lead to unequal enforcement of these penalties. One state may criminalize the same act as a felony, a different state may classify it as a misdemeanor, and another state may not criminalize it at all.

This post seeks to education you on the various levels of domestic violence charges in Colorado. In Colorado, there are three domestic violence charge classifications, each is very broad and are prosecuted with or without the victim’s willing cooperation. No matter the level of domestic violence charge that you may face, you need the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney.

Felony Domestic Violence Charges

A felony domestic violence charge typically involves substantial violence or injury to the alleged victim or the “use of a deadly weapon”. A deadly weapon is broadly interpreted to include any object that causes another person to fear immediate and serious bodily harm. This can include objects that may not be thought of as traditional weapons, such as a glass vase. It can also be charged as a felony if there are NO injuries or NO allegations that you touched or made any contact with the other person. It is very important that you seek the assistance of a domestic violence attorney before you make any statements to an officer.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges

A misdemeanor domestic violence charge is usually one in which a person is accused of causing a small injury or no injury at all to the other party. This could result from an allegation that a person was shoved or kicked. Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges can be boosted to a felony charge after three separate domestic violence charges.

Municipal or City Domestic Violence Charges.

Finally, a municipal or city code domestic violence charge is typically alleged conduct that is similar or less substantial then a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. The main difference is that it is prosecuted in city court instead of county court. This type of conviction may be sealable after three years, where as a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence convictions are not sealable or expugnable in Colorado.

As the new NFL policy has just been enacted for Domestic Violence convictions, it is unknown how each level of crime in Colorado would be judged. It appears that the penalties would not be enforced until the criminal case has concluded. This is the best policy because it protects the due process rights of the accused and allows for the assertion of any potential defenses to a charge.

It is unknown if the NFL domestic violence penalties would be assessed on any level of domestic violence conviction or if it will require the conduct have the elements of violence and injury. It is suspected that the NFL would look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the conduct and not the level of conviction to determine its enforcement. If the enforcement of an NFL domestic violence policy is triggered solely upon a conviction, it could result in grossly unfair enforcing of the penalties as some states do not prosecute cases in which there are no injuries, unlike Colorado.

If you, a family, or friend are currently being charged with any level of domestic violence crime, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Don’t get caught up in a system that is complicated and unforgiving, contact us today at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Domestic violence | Comments Off on NFL Domestic Violence In Colorado

Domestic Violence Arrest and Charges in Colorado

Dec. 2nd 2013

Some common defense to domestic violence charges in Colorado

You may think that just because the cops came out and eventually arrested you for a domestic violence related charge that you may not have any defenses available.  After all, the cops came out, took statements, arrested you , and took you to jail.   The cops could not have gotten it wrong, correct?  NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.  As a domestic violence defense attorney – there are many outside factors and investigative issues that will affect who is arrested and potential defenses that may be available.  This post is meant to be an informational guide to domestic violence arrests.  For more information or to review your specific case, please contact us directly at (303) 747-4686.

Not a fair and impartial investigation

Once a person calls 911, the information stated in that call is automatically transmitted to the officer BEFORE they arrive on scene.  So, if someone calls and says that a person assaulted them, the officer hears this information and is already thinking that the other party is at fault, even before they arrive. This means that when the officers say, “I’m just trying to see what happened” or get the full story, it is not true.  The officer is simply trying to build a case against the person he or she thinks is at fault – based on the first information they get.  This is before they talk to any witnesses or parties involved.

Officers often do not understand their role or mistaken belief of the law

Many officers will say that any time, regardless of the facts, if the officer responds to a domestic violence call it requires them to arrest someone. This is completely false and just shows that the officer does not understand the law and/or his or her duty in law enforcement.  Often times, the cops will actually apologize for arresting a person – but try to hide behind a statute and police policy that is not understood.  It does not mean that the prosecution will not file criminal charges against you, it means that you will be arrested, spend time in jail, and have to defend the charges.

Reporting party untruthfulness

A person who called the cops could have made up what happened or minimized his/her involvement in the fight – in order to get the other party in trouble and/or arrested. There could be many different motives for this type of behavior ranging from anger, revenge, to gaining an advantage in a custody hearing.  This is not a reason for the government to drop the case against you- even if the other person does not want to press charges.

Self-Defense

Sometimes a defense to the charges is that you acted in defense of yourself, your property, or another person.  This can be a strong defense to the charges and should not be overlooked by your attorney.  This defense can be used if your conduct was to restrain a party from harming themselves or others.

Report party or victim not desirous of prosecution

Often times, when tempers subside, the alleged victim and/or reporting party may not want criminal charges to be filed against the other person.  Even if this wish or want is communicated to the cops and/or prosecuting attorney- charges would most likely go forward.  Many government attorneys feel that any time a person is arrested for domestic violence, he/she must receive a punishment.

Any arrest or charge of domestic violence can be devastating for you and your family.  This is not the time to try and navigate the criminal justice system.  Your future and reputation can be called into question and may be at risk.  Contact a domestic violence attorney to represent you and fight for your vindication.

Thank you for visiting our post on Domestic Violence Defenses – contact us directly for more information at (303) 747-4686 or by clicking here.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Assault, Domestic violence | Comments Off on Domestic Violence Arrest and Charges in Colorado

Arrested for Denver domestic Violence – vital information you must know

Aug. 22nd 2013

Denver domestic violence- before you do anything; read this!

Here are a list of FOUR IMPORTANT POINTS that you must know after being arrested for Denver domestic violence crime.  After an arrest for Denver Domestic Violence charge, you are probably in shock, scared, and worried.  What will happen to you and your family, will you have to go back to jail?  This post talks about important thing to do after a Denver domestic violence arrest.  See our other blogs for more information on what is domestic violence.  If you have any questions, please contact us directly at (303) 747-4686 or click FREE CASE EVALUATION.

1.  THE OFFICER WAS NOT REQUIRED TO ARREST YOU FOR DENVER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The officers that arrested you probably told you that he/she had to make an arrest according to the law.  Although this is not an untrue statement, it is not a complete statement.  Police officers are siting C.R.S. 18-6-803.6, but that does not sate an arrest must be made if they are called out; it says that an arrest must be made if there is probable cause to believe a crime for Denver domestic violence had occurred.  This may seem like a small difference but it has a big impact.  If an officer has to arrest you –even if the other party does not want to press charges means that you could be arrested without any evidence against you.  Probable cause is a standard that must be followed – there must be enough evidence for the officer to believe a Denver domestic violence crime had occurred.

2.  DO NOT VIOLATE THE TERMS OF THE PROTECTIVE ORDER

The Criminal Protective Order (CPO) in a Denver domestic violence case is a one-way street.  You as the accused are prohibited from contacting the other party.  It is no defense that the other party contacted you fist or that the contact was peaceful.  You are being accused of Denver domestic violence crimes; you must obey the court’s order.  You may return to a shared residence to get clothing and other necessities only.  If you need to do this, you must ask the permission of the court.

If you violate the terms of the Criminal Protective Order during the pending Denver domestic violence case, you could face additional charges, including jail time.

3.  DO NOT OWN/POSSESS ANY FIREARMS

You are required to surrender all firearms and ammunition upon being charged with Denver domestic violence.  Any guns and ammunition do not have to be surrendered to law enforcement; they can be transferred to a third party under very specific conditions.  This must be done within 24 hours of your release on bond and failure to do so could result in class 2 misdemeanor and revocation of the bond, landing you back in jail for the Denver domestic violence crime.

4.  DO CONTACT A DENVER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY

You are being accused of a crime, this is not the time to “go it alone,” hire a Denver domestic violence attorney to represent, fight, and protect your interests.  You will be up against a professional attorney- who wants nothing more that to convict you for a Denver domestic violence crime.

Thank you for visiting our post on what you must know if you are accused of a Denver Domestic Violence crime.  For more information about our firm or free consultation– contact us today (303) 747- 4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Domestic violence | Comments Off on Arrested for Denver domestic Violence – vital information you must know

Arrested For Domestic Violence – what happens next?

May. 28th 2013

After you have been arrested for a domestic violence related charge, you may not know what is the procedure or how to defend the charges.  This post seeks to talk about what happens after an arrest for domestic violence in Colorado.  Click the link for more information on domestic violence laws.

Immediately after a domestic violence arrest

Domestic violence arrests typically mean that you will spend at least a night in jail.  If you are arrested on a Friday, you may not be released until the following Monday.  Two things must occur before your release after a domestic violence arrest.  First, you should be taken before a judge in order for bail to be set.  At this time, the court will set a bail amount and the terms for posting a bond.  See our post on bonds for more information.

 Criminal Protective Order after a domestic violence arrest

In addition to setting bail- after an arrest for domestic violence you will be served with a criminal protective order.  This order will prevent you from doing activities – read it closely and ensure that you understand each and every one of the terms.  If you violate any of the terms- you can be arrested and a new case added against you.  The protective order is a mandatory court order- thus, even if the victim tells the judge that she/he does not want or need a protective order, one will still be issued.

Commonly, after a domestic violence arrest the protective order may require you to live outside of your family home.  It could also restrict your ability to see your children.  During this hearing- ask for an attorney.  There can be special arrangements made for child visitation and/or other considerations in the protective order.

Right to attorney after a domestic violence arrest

After the bail hearing – you will be giving another court date for the domestic violence charge.  This hearing will be an arraignment or advisement.  This is where you will hear the charges against you and enter a plea.  Most, but not all DA’s expect the victim in a domestic violence case to disagree or not want prosecution.  Depending on the facts and evidence in the case- the DA would most likely move forward with the charges.

You have a right to have an attorney with you at all of the hearings.  Domestic violence charges are serious allegations that can impact your life, employment, and family.  Ensure that you are defending and protecting your rights- hire a criminal defense attorney with domestic violence experience.

Thank you for visiting our post on domestic violence arrests.  For additional information or if you or a loved one are being accused of domestic violence- contact us today at (303) 747-4686 or simply click contact us.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Domestic violence | Comments Off on Arrested For Domestic Violence – what happens next?

Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado

May. 16th 2013

 About Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado

In Colorado domestic violence laws are very broad and can encompass a wide range of behavior.   A finding that your conduct was a result of domestic violence could have severe consequences in your life, relationship, career, and family.  This post is to give you information on some very common domestic violence laws that are charged in Colorado.  If you or a loved one is charged with domestic violence- contact us directly by clicking here or call (303) 747-4686.

What are the domestic violence laws in Colorado?

Colorado Revised Statute 18-6-800.3 defines domestic violence as: “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. “  You can be charged even if you did not touch the other person – threats of violence or harm is included under domestic violence laws.

In addition, C.R.S. 18-6-800.3 domestic violence laws also include the following acts: any crime  (including municipal code violations) against a person, or against property, when done as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation or revenge if it is done to a person with whom the actor has or is involved in an intimate relationship.

Some common examples could be- throwing a cell phone or other property of the other person, withholding car keys, or breaking car windows.  Many domestic violence charges are the result of a loud argument where the cops are called, either by one of the parties or third-party, such as a neighbor.  Even a first offense of a violation of domestic violence laws could have serious consequences.  Cops were called, tempers were high – but it’s the next day; what can you do?  visit our post Can I have a domestic violence charge dropped?

Definition of intimate relationship

According to Domestic Violence Laws – an intimate relationship is:  spouse, former spouse, past or present unmarried couple, or parents of the same child.  Domestic violence laws allow you to be charged even if you are no longer with the other person or if the relationship has ended.

In order to be charged with domestic violence – the relationship must be more than that of a roommate, friend, or acquaintance.  There must be a romantic attachment or custodial parents.  When determining if there is an intimate relationship – the courts can look at 1) the length of the relationship 2) nature or type of relationship 3) how often the parties interact.

Thank you for visiting our post on domestic violence laws – should you like to discuss the specific factual circumstance of your arrest – call us today at (303) 747-4686.

 

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in Domestic violence | Comments Off on Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado

Can I Have the Domestic Violence Charges Dropped

Mar. 6th 2013

I don’t want the case to be prosecuted – why won’t DA drop the domestic violence charges?

Commonly, this question comes up in domestic violence charges or a theft from a family member prosecution.   After a loved one is arrested; regardless of the validity of the charges, family members tend to want to avoid getting their loved one in any “more” trouble.  As a domestic violence attorney, I have heard this question countless times, “how can they (State) charge my (boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) with domestic violence, if I say it didn’t happen or I don’t want prosecution.   This post is simply to explain the criminal justice process as it relates to prosecution of domestic violence charges.

The short answer is no, you cannot have the domestic violence charge dismissed by simply calling the DA or prosecutor.  Once officers are involved and determine that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by the suspect, they will arrest whom they deem to be a suspect.  This is not to say that the “suspect” will be charged.  There is a presumption of innocence that applies to everyone.

The district attorney will then determine what, if any charges should be filed.  The district attorney has an ethical obligation to file only those domestic violence charges that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  Thus, if he/she feels that a crime was committed and is provable, domestic violence charges would be filed and the person will be prosecuted.  For more information on consequence of a domestic violence charge, click here.

If the initial reporting party or victim decided that they do not want to press domestic violence charges, the case may still go forward.  The district attorney has the power to issue a subpoena for you to testify, even if you do not want to.  The rational to allow the DA to proceed with domestic violence charges, even if you do not agree, is for the greater protection of society and/or an abused victim.

Remember, filing of domestic violence charges puts each element of the offense into contention and requires that the prosecution prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is not an automatic indication of guilt. Thus, if you believe that you or a loved one was wrongly accused of domestic violence charges, contact a criminal defense attorney to review your case.

Thank you for visiting our post on domestic violence charges.  If you would like to contact us directly, you can click here or call us at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Domestic violence | Comments Off on Can I Have the Domestic Violence Charges Dropped