September 19, 2023
Police in Longmont, Colorado recently arrested Claudio Lee Casias for domestic violence despite the fact that he did not engage in any physical violence – or even threaten anyone. What happened?
According to reports, Mr. Casias’s wife called police, saying that her husband was armed with a 9 millimeter pistol and that she was afraid of him. She also stated that he had not injured her or their son or made any threats.
When police arrived, Mr. Casias was sleeping, and they used a robot to lure him out of his home. He is currently facing charges for misdemeanor domestic violence and criminal mischief.
Generally harm or a legitimate threat of harm is required for a domestic violence conviction, so it is unclear exactly why the police decided to charge him. However, it does starkly illustrate the point that domestic violence charges can come more easily than you might imagine. It’s therefore prudent to take a look at Colorado domestic violence laws – and how to beat false or exaggerated charges.
Understanding Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado
In Colorado, domestic violence is defined as an act of violence or threat of violence against someone with whom the perpetrator has or has had an intimate relationship.
Domestic violence also includes any other crime committed against current or former intimate partners for the purpose of coercion, control, punishment, or revenge. This would include, for example, vandalizing an ex-spouse’s car.
Domestic violence in our state is not punished as a separate offense from the underlying act. Rather, when a defendant is convicted of an offense and the court finds that the crime was linked to domestic violence, the defendant will be sentenced for the crime (for example, assault), but also require that the defendant complete a domestic violence treatment program.
If a defendant has three prior convictions for crimes involving domestic violence, he or she will face enhanced sentencing if convicted of additional domestic violence-related offenses. If additional offenses would otherwise be a misdemeanor, they will instead be punished as a Class 5 felony, which carries a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment.
Police Duties When Responding to Domestic Violence
Under Colorado law, police must make an arrest when there is probable cause that a domestic violence offense has been committed.
However, officers are not required to make an arrest when responding to complaints where both parties claim that the other is the aggressor. In these cases, officers take the following considerations into account:
- Prior domestic violence complaints
- Relative severity of injuries inflicted on each party
- Possibility of future injury to each party
- Whether one party acted in self-defense
Police are also required to make an arrest when there is probable cause that a person restrained by a protective order has violated the order.
What exactly are protective orders?
These are legal restrictions on an individual that may be issued to prevent domestic abuse. They are designed to restrain the defendant from harming, threatening, or having any contact with the protected person.
A temporary order is first issued if the judge finds evidence of imminent danger, which is followed by a hearing. At the hearing, the judge may either withdraw the protective order, or make it permanent.
If you are Facing Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
At the Law office of Jacob Martinez, we hold that while domestic violence should never be tolerated, neither should false or exaggerated claims used to gain legal leverage. Moreover, everyone should have the right to the strongest possible defense when their life and liberty are on the line.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is imperative to take this matter seriously. A domestic violence conviction has long-term consequences. It will leave you with a criminal history of violence, and could also compromise your parental rights.
To fight back, you need to work with a serious Denver criminal defense attorney, who will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Get in touch today to begin building your defense.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.