Domestic Violence FAQ

Domestic Violence Attorneys Serving Eagle + Garfield Counties

Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado

Domestic violence cases are unique in our legal system. Colorado does not have a specific statute detailing domestic violence the same way our criminal code covers physical assault.

Because of this, domestic violence is not considered a standalone offense and is instead tacked on to other criminal charges. In legal terms, this is called a “sentence enhancer” or an “aggravator.”

According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, “domestic violence means an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship…”

Accusations of domestic violence are not rare in Colorado. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the frequency and severity of domestic abuse can vary dramatically.

In Colorado, tens of thousands of domestic violence reports are made, every year there are dozens of domestic violence-related homicides – most with a gun, hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are stalked during their lifetime, about a third of all Coloradans have suffered from violence during their lifetime.

1What exactly is considered an act of domestic violence?

In C.R.S. 18-6-800.3(1), Colorado law 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.”

Whether you have been charged with physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, or economic domestic violence, we can investigate your accusations and present evidence on your behalf.

The criminal code also includes acts of violence against property; municipal ordinance violations against a person, or his or her property (including animals); and especially when the property is used to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or exact revenge against a person whom the offender has been involved with intimately.

2Ok, what is an “intimate relationship” defined as?

As per the state of Colorado: “… a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.”

Understanding how Colorado defines domestic violence terms will help offenders and victims know what steps to take following a domestic incident.

3My girlfriend and I were home, got into a fight and she called the police. They can’t arrest me, can they?

Colorado enforces a mandatory arrest law in domestic violence cases. This means if the police get called to a residence and they determine probable cause, someone is going to jail.

A minor domestic incident can quickly escalate to serious domestic abuse charges.

For example, if a harassment charge is alleged by a victim, and it’s found the victim and offender were involved in an intimate relationship (past or present), law enforcement is required to make an immediate arrest to ensure the continued safety of the accuser, as well as the safety of other occupants in a home.

4Ok, it was a big misunderstanding, can we just forget this ever happened?

No. There is no recanting or withdrawing a complaint with domestic violence allegations. Once a domestic violence incident has been charged there’s no avoiding certain immediate, legal repercussions.

  • Law enforcement must arrest an offender if they feel there is probable cause that a confrontation involved domestic violence.
  • Offenders will be taken to jail and may be required to spend the night there; offenders remain in jail until a judge can set a bond amount.
  • An automatic No-Contact Order will take effect. The alleged offender will usually not be permitted to return home until the case is resolved. This is commonly known as a Restraining Order.
  • A domestic violence case can’t be dismissed if the accuser doesn’t want to press charges; instead, the prosecuting agency must declare to the court under oath that he or she can’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.