You’re Charged With Domestic Violence. What Does That Mean?
Being accused of and then charged with domestic violence can be an overwhelming experience, whether you believe that you’re guilty or not. In 2021, the city of Denver averaged about 170 reported domestic violence crimes per month – so know that you are not alone in these feelings. Due to the severity of the consequences, it’s essential that you get a criminal defense attorney on your side if you’ve been charged.
Not only can a skilled attorney guide you through the legalities of a charge and defense, but they can also help you work through and plan for what comes after conviction. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to my firm, The Law Offices of Thomas W. Martin, LLC to schedule a free consultation. Your life and freedom are important, and I truly care about your case. I serve individuals in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the surrounding cities throughout Larimer County and Weld County, including Loveland, Wellington, Estes Park, Johnstown, Windsor, and Greeley.
Domestic Violence in Colorado
Domestic violence includes any sort of violence (or threats of violence) to a person with whom you share or have shared an intimate relationship. The violence can be towards the person or property of the person, including animals, and can be expressed in different ways. Maybe it was used as a manipulation tactic, or used to scare, punish, intimidate, or get revenge on the other person. No matter the way it’s expressed, it still counts as domestic violence.
An intimate relationship includes individuals that are or were:
Parents of a shared child (whether or not they live together or have lived together)
Family members related by blood, marriage, or adoption
This can include violence towards a child, but if a child is involved, it may be classified as child abuse, and it likely will turn into a felony charge.
Simply put, any crime towards your partner can count as domestic violence, from something as seemingly small as breaking a cell phone up to manslaughter. These crimes can stack on top of each other in a court of law. These crimes can include:
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges
Depending on the severity of the case, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Both can have serious repercussions.
A misdemeanor charge, although less serious than a felony, can still have lasting effects. Generally, misdemeanor consequences include fines or time in jail for up to one year. However, although a misdemeanor is less severe than a felony, it can easily become a felony if there are repeated offenses.
Felony charges are much more serious, and they include more violent cases. These violent acts usually result in serious bodily harm or even death, and they can include violence towards a minor or child, violent sexual acts, and actions or threats including a deadly weapon. The consequences of a felony charge can include fines of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.
Being charged with domestic violence has lasting consequences. These can include hefty fines, a permanent record, and even jail or prison, depending on the case.
Fines are the most common consequences of domestic violence charges. Depending on the severity of the actions involved, you may be fined up to $10,000.
Jail, Prison, and/or Probation
A convicted person will likely be sentenced to either jail or prison time. If you’ve received a misdemeanor, you may be ordered to jail time up to a year. If it’s a felony, a prison sentence can last up to five years. However, you may have the option to receive probation instead of or in addition to jail time.
No matter the reason for committing such a crime, many people convicted of domestic violence may be required to take court-ordered classes to learn about coping skills, the effects of their actions, and anger management. Although these courses cost a convicted person money, they can be great skill-builders to help improve the lives of everyone involved.
For protection, the victim or victims may seek a no-contact order, protection order, or restraining order. The accused will need to follow this order, or they may have more consequences follow.
Loss of Job
An employer may fire an employee due to a domestic violence conviction. While this can happen in almost any job, it’s much more likely to happen in careers that include children or protecting others. Teachers, social workers, therapists, nurses, and government employees are held to high standards by their employers, and since Colorado is an at-will state, they would have the legal right to fire you.
Other possible consequences of a domestic violence charge include the loss of child custody or visitation rights, loss of gun rights, and even deportation. Make sure to get a skilled attorney on your side to avoid or lessen the likelihood of these and more consequences.
Look to a Strong & Reliable Attorney
A domestic violence charge is a serious situation, so only a serious domestic violence attorney who has both knowledge and passion should handle it. At my firm, I strive to be that for you. I proudly serve those in Fort Collins, Colorado, and throughout Larimer and Weld Counties, including Loveland, Wellington, Estes Park, Johnstown, Windsor, and Greeley. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation for customized advocacy. Protect your rights and your future.