Domestic Violence Classification

Domestic Violence Classification

Domestic violence is an important concept in criminal defense. Domestic violence is not actually an offense, but rather a classification based on the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the victim. If you are charged with violence, threatening violence, or any crime committed for the purpose of coercing, controlling, punishing or exacting revenge against a person who you are or have been intimate with, your charges will be classified as a domestic violence crime. Domestic violence can attach to felonies, misdemeanors, or petty offenses.

When the police respond to a domestic disturbance call, you can be almost 100% certain that at least one or both of the people involved will be arrested and placed in jail. It will rarely matter what you explain to the police and how unnecessary you feel an arrest might be, you or your family member will likely end up in jail. It is also important to note, that once filed, a domestic violence case can only be dismissed by the district attorney. The alleged victim cannot order the charges to be dropped. In Colorado, domestic violence cases are fast tracked and you will be offered a plea agreement soon after your charges are filed. Do not accept a plea agreement without consulting an attorney.

The domestic violence classification carries important implications for you and your family. First, even if your charge is a misdemeanor or petty offense, you will be arrested and placed in jail until you can see a judge. Second, the court must issue a no-contact order requiring you to stay away from the victim even if the victim is your spouse and you share the same residence. This can wreak havoc on your family’s daily life. You can ask the court for the no-contact order to be lifted or adjusted. However, you will have to convince the court that any changes will not place the alleged victim in further danger.

An attorney can be helpful in modifying the no-contact order. Lastly, if you are convicted or accept a plea agreement including the domestic violence classification, you will be required to attend a minimum of 36 hours of domestic violence classes. Classes and treatment cost about $1,000 in addition to all other costs of your case.

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Our Northern Colorado family law firm offers free initial consultations to new clients. Please call us today at 970-624-6060.