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What is the definition of domestic violence?

Is "domestic violence" itself considered a type of crime? Many criminal defendants may be surprised to know that domestic violence is actually a designated violation. Although domestic violence is often paired with other crimes including battery and assault, the violence charge can stand on its own in a Colorado courtroom.

You may not be entirely sure why you are facing domestic violence charges; after all, such allegations are only for people who physically harm family members and spouses, right? Not so fast. Domestic violence can take a variety of forms. Of course, we consider the physical abuse aspect of this violation, which includes punching, hitting, slapping and otherwise injuring the victim. However, sexual abuse and emotional abuse also qualify as domestic violence violations. Defendants may even face domestic violence charges for economic abuse, which involves the violator isolating the victim by limiting that person's financial independence.

Those who are charged with domestic violence violations should know that prosecutors may push for harsher sentences than those issued for crimes perpetrated against strangers. Sentences related to domestic assault charges may include additional provisions for protective orders for alleged victims of domestic abuse. The specific charges that are levied against a defendant generally depend upon the severity of the victim's injuries, along with other mitigating factors. Charges may be more severe if a minor was present for the incident or if a protective order was allegedly violated.

Knowing the types of domestic violations can help defendants understand the various options available after they have been accused of family violence. Criminal defendants of all persuasions deserve access to a fair legal proceeding. An arrest and arraignment for domestic violence does not mean that the defendant is considered guilty by default.

Source: FindLaw, "Domestic Violence" Aug. 19, 2014

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