It’s not unusual for those in intimate relationships to disagree and even engage in heated arguments at times. Domestic violence is something else. It revolves around an ongoing pattern of verbal or physical abuse, including violence and threats of violence, in order for one person to control the behavior of another.
Domestic violence can lead to devastating outcomes for couples and for children, including psychological and physical harm, and in extreme cases, even death. Domestic abuse can be perpetrated against women or men.
Whether you are the victim of domestic violence or someone has reported you for alleged domestic violence, it’s important to understand that such cases are often fast tracked for the safety of victims. In other words, it is imperative that you obtain qualified legal representation from the experts at Curtis Law Firm to ensure that you receive sound legal advice and that justice is served in your case.
Mr. Curtis handled my case quickly and with such detail that a trial (custody) was avoided.Shaun
This may seem like a silly question, but different states have different legal definitions, so it’s important to understand what is regarded as domestic violence (as opposed to other forms of violence) in the state of Colorado. Colorado Revised Statutes categorizes 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”.
However, it is not a standalone offense, as with, say, a physical assault, which is why the Statute goes on to say that domestic violence “includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship”.
What qualifies as an intimate relationship? According to the Statute, it is “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”.
In the state of Colorado, legal authorities take decisive action whenever there is a report of domestic violence, and this includes following the mandatory arrest law. If police are called to assess a situation where harassment, abuse, or physical violence has occurred, they determine probable cause, and they discover that the alleged victim and offender are in (or were in) an intimate relationship, they must arrest the offender immediately for the safety of everyone involved.
Offenders will be taken to jail and remain in custody until a judge sets a bond. Charges of domestic violence will be added to other criminal charges in the case as an aggravating offense, or “sentence enhancer”. The case cannot be dismissed just because the victim decides not to press charges. A criminal protection order will be put in place until either the case is dismissed or the guilty person has met all the conditions of their punishment.
Civil Protection Orders
In Colorado a person can ask the Court for a protection order against someone who has:
- Committed assaults or threatened bodily harm against that person
- Has committed domestic abuse against the person
- To prevent emotional or physical abuse of the elderly or of an at-risk adult
- To prevent sexual assault or abuse
- To prevent stalking
After filing for a civil protection order, you will quickly be seen by a Judge to hear about the facts of your case. You need to prove that there is imminent danger or harm that needs to be stopped immediately. Usually this hearing is held without the other party present. If the Judge feels there is sufficient evidence to show imminent danger or harm, the Court will issue a Temporary Protection Order. A show cause order is then issued to the other party and a hearing is set for both of you to tell the Court your sides of the story. This hearing is required to occur just 14 days after the temporary protection order is issued.
At the permanent protection order hearing, the person seeking to have the protection order made permanent must show that the offending individual “has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order and that unless restrained, will continue to commit such acts.
If the order is made permanent, the offending individual may not ask the Court to modify or dismiss the protection order for a minimum of 2 years. If the offending person violates the permanent protection order, they lose the right to ever ask the Court to have the protection order removed.
Victims in domestic violence cases are often frightened of facing their abusers. A qualified attorney can help victims to take needed steps to prosecute offenders and deal with the aftermath of abuse. Those accused of perpetrating domestic violence need to understand the consequences of their offenses, and the right legal team can help them to mount a defense.
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