If you are charged or arrested for domestic violence in Denver, the best thing you can do for yourself is to leave your accuser alone and call attorney Michael Fayard.
Attorney Fayard, a prosecutor-turned-criminal defense lawyer, will hear your story and work fast to resolve your case. Fayard has insight into handling domestic violence cases, whether they include a restraining order, criminal charges, or both.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes, domestic violence is a violent act or threat of violence against someone the offender has had an intimate relationship with. Intimate relationships are considered between spouses, former spouses, unmarried couples, and parents of children regardless of marital status.
Domestic violence is not a standalone offense in Colorado — it is considered a sentence enhancer or aggravator added to other criminal charges, such as:
Domestic violence charges are not limited to physical or sexual violence. A domestic violence enhancement can also be added to charges related to the destruction of property or animal abuse.
Colorado has a mandatory arrest policy, meaning law enforcement officers must arrest anyone they have probable cause to believe committed a crime involving domestic violence.
To determine probable cause, police will look for evidence of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge. This can mean arresting both parties if two people accuse each other of domestic violence. The goal is to prevent a domestic violence incident from escalating or reoccurring, but it means officers are often pushed into making arrests based on judgment calls.
Several districts in Colorado (such as the Fourth Judicial District) have a domestic violence fast track program that accelerates the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence and brings alleged offenders in front of a judge within 24 hours of arrest or the closest business day.
The penalties for domestic violence in Colorado depend on the base charge. For example, if you are charged with first or second-degree assault, you face a felony and possible punishments of at least five years in jail and hefty fines.
If you are charged with third-degree assault, you face a misdemeanor, bringing up to 18 months in jail. Domestic violence enhancements most often accompany misdemeanors such as low-level assault or harassment.
For crimes with a domestic violence enhancement, you may be ordered to complete a domestic violence treatment program in addition to the penalties for the underlying charge.
Suppose you are convicted of three or more offenses, including acts of domestic violence. In that case, any additional domestic violence offense will be automatically raised to a class five felony, which can bring penalties of one to three years in jail and fines up to $100,000.
After a defendant is arrested for domestic violence, state law mandates a temporary protection order against the accused before they are released on bail.
The order of protection prevents anyone charged with domestic violence from attempting to contact, threaten, or retaliate against their alleged victim. Depending on the circumstances, the court can also order further restrictions prohibiting them from consuming alcohol or other controlled substances.
The initial protection order remains in effect until the end of their case and through their sentence, unless the case is dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty. In some cases, orders of protection can be modified and extended (sometimes permanently).
Client was charged with domestic violence injunction. Petitioner was seeking permanent injunction. Michael was able to get the case dismissed with no injunction.
Michael represented a client charged with misdemeanor violation of a domestic injunction. He was facing jail time and probation. Michael conducted discovery, deposition, and investigation. The State dismissed the charges after presentment of mitigating defense evidence.
Once charges involving domestic violence are brought forward, and an arrest is made, prosecution lies in the hands of the state. The victim cannot recant or request the charges be dropped.
The only way for prosecutors to dismiss a case is to demonstrate to the court that they cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Because of Colorado’s process for prosecuting domestic violence, the best way to defend yourself is to fight the underlying charge with the help of a domestic violence lawyer. If the initial charge is dropped, the domestic violence aggravator will also be removed.
Common defenses for crimes involving domestic violence include:
Aside from possible time behind bars, domestic violence convictions in Colorado bring lasting consequences that restrict your parental rights, employment, gun ownership eligibility, and more. Depending on the severity of your domestic violence-related charge, a conviction could stay on your record for life without the possibility of record sealing or expungement.
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Retaining a domestic violence lawyer who will guide you throughout the process is an essential step to fighting your charges, whether your case is dismissed, resolved through a plea agreement, or proceeds to trial.
As a former prosecutor, Attorney Fayard knows how to approach domestic violence cases and what it takes to reach the best possible outcome.
To get started, call 303-990-8585 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation. Attorney Fayard will listen to your story, ask some questions, and give you an honest assessment of your options. There’s no pressure or demands, just information that can help you.