Habitual Domestic Violence Offender
Domestic violence is a serious crime that impacts many families. Often, incidents of domestic violence are not isolated. Colorado law recognizes that repeated domestic violence deserves special treatment and punishment.
In many cases, domestic violence in Colorado is considered a misdemeanor. This means that it is punishable by up to a year in jail. But if an individual has a history of domestic violence convictions, they can be convicted of a felony.
Denver Habitual Domestic Violence Offender Attorney
Facing a domestic violence charge in Colorado can be terrifying. Beyond the stress of a criminal process, a conviction resulting in steep fines and imprisonment can be life-altering. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, the most important thing to do is speak honestly with a lawyer who can help you in getting the charges dropped or dismissed.
With over 28 years of trial experience, defense lawyer Matthew Martin at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. can zealously defend you and your rights. Call (303) 725-0017 to set up a free consultation today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. serves clients throughout the Denver area and surrounding counties such as Broomfield County, Jefferson County, Douglas County, Boulder County, and Adams County.
- Domestic Violence in Colorado
- Habitual Domestic Violence Offender in Colorado
- Penalties for a Habitual Domestic Offender in Colorado
- Defenses for Domestic Violence
- Additional Resources
Domestic Violence in Colorado
To be charged as a habitual domestic violence offender, it must first be shown that an individual committed a domestic violence offense. Colorado law defines 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. 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 is defined under Colorado law as:
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.
Habitual Domestic Violence Offender in Colorado
Once it has been shown that a person has committed a previous domestic violence offense, they can be charged as a habitual domestic violence offender if:
They have been previously convicted three times, upon charges brought separately and tried and arose out of separate and different criminal episodes, of a misdemeanor, felony, or municipal code violation, the underlying factual basis of which was determined by the court on the record to include a domestic violence act.
Colorado law says that if all the above conditions are met, the prosecutor may ask the court to label the individual as a domestic violence offender and sentence them accordingly.
Penalties for a Habitual Domestic Offender in Colorado
In many cases, domestic violence offenses are classified as misdemeanors. These crimes are usually treated less seriously than felonies. However, if the accused is found to be a habitual domestic violence offender, they can be convicted of a class 5 felony.
In Colorado, a conviction of a class 5 felony can result in a jail term of up to 3 years and a fine of up to $100,000. However, if an individual is convicted of a domestic violence offense and had previously been convicted of three separate domestic violence offenses, they will not automatically receive a class 5 felony sentence. The prosecutor must petition the court to apply the habitual domestic violence enhancement. Only if the court grants the prosecutor’s request will the individual be designated as a habitual domestic violence offender and convicted of a class 5 felony.
In addition to the statutory penalties associated with a class 5 felony, a person designated as a habitual domestic violence offender may face other consequences that may significantly impact their life. Because they are now a convicted felon, they may face difficulty purchasing a firearm, obtaining custody of a child, finding employment, and securing housing.
Defenses for Domestic Violence
As with any criminal charge, there are defenses. Domestic violence cases often rely on the testimony of the victim and any potential witnesses. This means that these cases often have little physical evidence to rely on. Some of the possible defenses to a habitual domestic violence offense include:
Lack of evidence – To convict an individual of a domestic violence offense, the prosecutor likely will need the victim’s cooperation. Because these cases must involve individuals who are involved in an intimate relationship, it can be challenging to get the victim to show up to court and testify against a current or former loved one. Without this crucial evidence, the prosecutor may be forced to withdraw the charges.
Self-defense – Many domestic violence offenses involve a physical altercation. Individuals involved in an intimate relationship often get into disagreements that can turn violent. If an individual has been charged with a domestic violence offense, and it can be shown that they were simply defending themselves from an attack, then they may be able to claim self-defense.
Previous convictions were not domestic violence offenses – For the accused to be designated a habitual domestic violence offender, it must be shown that they were convicted of three separate domestic violence offenses. The law in Colorado says that only certain offenses are domestic violence offenses, and they must involve individuals in an intimate relationship. This means that a previous assault conviction involving two individuals who did not know each other will not count as a domestic violence offense. If the prosecutor tries to use that conviction as a previous domestic violence offense, the defendant cannot be designated as a habitual domestic violence offender.
Safe House Denver – An agency located in Denver, Colorado, that serves domestic violence victims and provides housing, counseling, and educational programming to prevent future domestic violence abuse.
Colorado’s Domestic Violence Program – operated by the department of human services, The DVP contracts with agencies across the state to provide community-based domestic violence programs that stop domestic violence and provide resources where necessary.
Colorado Habitual Domestic Violence Offender Lawyer | Denver, CO
Have you been accused of domestic violence and are now being classified as a habitual domestic violence offender in Denver? Contact Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. to receive quality legal counsel. Defense lawyer Matthew Martin at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has over 28 years of experience in the local criminal justice system as both a prosecutor and a district attorney. He is prepared to advocate aggressively on your behalf.
Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area including Jefferson County, Broomfield County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and Boulder County. Set up a free consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. by calling (303) 725-0017 today.