Colorado Domestic Violence Law

Colorado criminal law describes domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the individual is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. However, the interpretation is much broader than what first appears. Domestic violence also 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.

An "Intimate relationship" in Colorado means 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.

When you or someone you know has been placed under arrest for domestic violence within the Denver metropolitan area, or in any other area within Colorado, it is important to retain an experienced, professional criminal defense lawyer to defend against these criminal charges. Colorado domestic violence law does not set forth specific criminal conduct, but rather it specifies specific additional penalties and procedures if the crime alleged was also a crime consisting of domestic violence. The underlying charge may include many different types of crimes.  For instance, the underlying crime may include the following:
  • Murder
  • Negligent Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Property Destruction
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
Rather than being a crime onto itself domestic violence provides for additional applicable sentencing and procedural requirements a Colorado Court is mandated to follow.

Colorado statutes provide that in addition to any sentence that is imposed upon a person for violation of any criminal law, any person who is convicted of any crime, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, or any crime against property, whether or not such crime is a felony, when such crime is 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 shall be ordered to complete a treatment program and a treatment evaluation that conform with the standards adopted by the domestic violence offender management board. If an intake evaluation conducted by an approved treatment program provider discloses that sentencing to a treatment program would be inappropriate, the person shall be referred back to the court for alternative disposition.

The court may order a treatment evaluation to be conducted prior to sentencing if a treatment evaluation would assist the court in determining an appropriate sentence. The person ordered to undergo such evaluation shall be required to pay the cost of the treatment evaluation. If such treatment evaluation recommends treatment, and if the court so finds, the person shall be ordered to complete a treatment program that conforms with the standards adopted by the Colorado domestic violence offender management board.

The court may also order domestic violence treatment in any appropriate case. However, the mandate for the Court to impose a treatment evaluation, and potential treatment, does not apply to persons sentenced to the department of corrections.

Colorado criminal law provides that a person charged with the commission of a crime, the underlying factual basis of which includes an act of domestic violence, shall not be entitled to plead guilty or plead nolo contendere to an offense which does not include the domestic violence designation required, unless the prosecuting attorney makes a good faith representation on the record that such attorney would not be able to establish a prima facie case that the person and the alleged victim were currently or formerly involved in an intimate relationship if the defendant were brought to trial on the original domestic violence offense and upon such a finding by the court. In such instance the prosecuting attorney's record and the court's findings must specify the relationship in the alleged domestic violence case which the prosecuting attorney is not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and the reasons therefor. No court shall accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to an offense which does not include the domestic violence designation required, when the facts of the case indicate that the underlying factual basis includes an act of domestic violence unless there is a good faith representation by the prosecuting attorney that he or she would be unable to establish a prima facie case if the defendant were brought to trial on the original offense.

Repeat domestic violence offenders are treated particularly harshly under Colorado law. In the event a person is convicted within the State of Colorado on or after July 1, 2000, of any offense which would otherwise be a misdemeanor, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, and that person has been three times previously convicted, upon charges separately brought and tried and arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, of a felony or misdemeanor or municipal ordinance violation, the underlying factual basis of which was found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, the prosecuting attorney may petition the court to adjudge the person an habitual domestic violence offender, and such person shall be convicted of a class 5 felony. If the person is adjudged an habitual domestic violence offender, the court shall sentence the person pursuant to the presumptive range set forth in applicable Colorado statutes for a class 5 felony. The former convictions and judgments shall be set forth in apt words in the indictment or information.

When the police are called on a domestic violence report, it is often the case that at least one of the parties will be arrested and taken to jail. Sometimes, it does not matter whether or not a truly abusive relationship exists or if domestic assault or spousal abuse actually took place: someone is going to be behind bars. Many people are shocked to find out how serious domestic violence charges are and how important it is to seek legal representation immediately.
Do not make any statement to the police or accept a plea agreement without first speaking to an experienced Colorado attorney. Because of what sometimes can be a short timeframe, it is crucial for you to retain an attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged or placed under arrest for domestic violence.

Contact Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney Ross Koplin

Domestic Violence is serious in Colorado.  Accusations of domestic violence often have numerous devastating consequences both in and out of the courtroom.  You will need an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer who has the compassion and empathy necessary to aggressively fight for you and to help you through a difficult time.  Attorney Ross Koplin represents individuals in all domestic violence and domestic abuse cases, and has extensive experience defending such cases throughout Colorado.  Within the Denver metropolitan area, or in any other area within Colorado, we will help you evaluate every reasonable legal defense be available to you.  For a free, confidential telephone consultation call Ross Koplin at:  (303) 831-8924.

Legal Disclaimer
- The information contained at this web site is not intended to be legal advice and all information regarding Colorado criminal law is general content only and should not be relied upon for any specific Colorado criminal law situation. Information on this web site is not intended to be comprehensive and does not cover all the issues, nuances or ramifications related to the topic discussed. This web site may not be updated routinely to reflect the very most current Colorado law.

Individuals should consult an experienced Denver criminal lawyer for advice regarding an individual situation.