No Violence Has to Occur to Be Charged with Domestic Violence
It would be common sense to believe that something violent must happen in order to be charged with domestic violence. This is not true, however. The actual definition is:
“An act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor has been in an intimate relationship.”
The statute goes on to say that domestic violence:
“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.”
Note the words: “any other crime.” That means the crime doesn't have to be violent in order for you to be charged with domestic violence; it could be Criminal Mischief – C.R.S. 18-4-501, Theft – C.R.S. 18-4-401, or Trespass – C.R.S. 18-4-502. This kind of nonsense is a good example of the outrageous laws that plague our justice system.
What Is an Intimate Relationship in Domestic Violence? The Answer May Surprise You
To make things even more complicated, the interpretation of who this law applies to has changed. Previously, Colorado courts interpreted “intimate relationship” as a sexual one. But, in a recent Supreme Court case (People v. Disher, 224 P.3d, 254 (Colo, 2010) the court interpreted “intimate relationship” differently: “Evidence of a sexual relationship is not necessary to establish the existence of an intimate relationship.” (Id. at 255). You could be charged with domestic violence for a crime against a person you kissed once, or held hands with years ago. Because of this, domestic violence is becoming a much more common conviction – and the stakes are high. If you are convicted, your life will change drastically. Depending on the crime, you won't be able to possess a firearm or pass a security background check. Also, if you are convicted of domestic violence in Larimer, Jefferson or Arapahoe County, you will have to undergo Domestic Violence Offender Treatment.Request a Free Consultation