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What happens when you get accused of domestic violence?

Getting arrested for any crime is stressful and brings with it a certain amount of uncertainty. Depending on the accusation, you may get released, or you may have to sit in jail. Domestic violence is a charge that carries with it varying degrees of punishment mostly dependent on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history.

If you find yourself in cuffs over a domestic violence charge, you should understand what possible outcomes the charge ends with.

What is domestic violence?

Colorado has a clear definition of what domestic violence is under C.R.S. ยง 18-6-800.3(1). It defines the crime as a threat or act of violence against another occupant of the same dwelling. It also includes aggression against personal property and animals when that aggression is a form of coercion against an "intimate partner." An intimate partner is a spouse or domestic partner.

What happens after arrest?

Domestic violence is not a chargeable offense; rather, it is an enhancer. For example, if you get arrested for battery of your spouse, the charge will get enhanced with the added charge of domestic violence. After the arrest, a restraining order goes into effect. This order is mandatory and sanctioned under the law. The order disallows any contact, physical or otherwise, between the parties involved. As you move through the court process, the restraining order may get dropped or reduced. If you need to re-enter your home, you will need to get a police escort and arrange it in advance.

Domestic violence charges do not get dropped if the complaining party wants them to be. Prosecutors will only drop a case if they believe they cannot prove it.

Getting arrested with a domestic violence enhancement is not ideal, but knowing what you face is essential in helping you understand the consequences.

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