Domestic Violence: The Effect of the Reported Holiday Increase

You’ve most likely heard this before: domestic violence incidents spike during the holiday season with more people spending long days and weeks with family members.

It’s something that makes sense. It’s something that sounds true. So when media outlets report the information as fact, most people tend to believe it.

Here’s the thing, though: according to the National Resource Center for Domestic Violence, “Available research linking reports of domestic violence to the holiday season is limited and inconclusive.”

In other words, the story about there being an increase is more or less bogus.

Unfortunately, the story that domestic violence goes up over the holiday season is the prevailing narrative. And it’s a dangerous one.

This danger touches both those who could be accused of domestic violence and they people seeking to put an end to it.

For example, many blame the “spike” in domestic violence around the holidays on increased stress and alcohol. Doing this ignores the root causes of domestic violence, and reduces habitual acts of domestic violence to small spats. Domestic violence may not necessarily take a day off on Christmas or New Year’s, but it also doesn’t limit itself to the holidays, either.

Additionally, many law enforcement agencies put together special domestic violence programs and talk about “cracking down” during this time. The problem with this heightened vigilance, though, is that it can lead to overzealous policing. And if a family member is accused of or arrested for domestic violence, it can ruin the entire season – and beyond – for everyone involved.

What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest

Denver DOmestic Violence Attorney

Colorado has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding domestic violence arrests. Officers are required to obey the following procedures when investigating a potential domestic violence situation:

  • Mandatory arrest at any sign of violence against another person or property
  • Mandatory night in jail and issuance of a protection order
  • The state takes on the charges against the defendant, making it impossible for an alleged victim to dismiss charges
  • Mandatory domestic violence education and treatment upon conviction

Depending on the charge associated with the act of domestic violence (i.e. assault, battery, and so on) penalties may vary for crimes of domestic violence. Repeat offenders (offenders with over three domestic violence-related convictions) face a class 5 felony charge.

If you are arrested before or during the holiday season, a protection order could prevent you from seeing your partner, family members, or children during the holidays. Violating this protection order is a class 2 misdemeanor.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you may not just be the victim of an over-reactive police officer. Remember, officers are required to arrest someone for violence against “person or property.” That means breaking a phone or threatening someone is grounds for arrest. Arresting officers are just following Colorado’s “victim’s rights” rules.

How to Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges

If you are charged with domestic violence, it may feel like you’ve already been convicted – especially if following the rules of your protection order keep you from seeing your family and children.

Do not simply give in to your charges, though. There are several defenses that a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer will know how to use to protect your rights and fight for your future. Learn more about how to defend against the charges in your specific situation by contacting a Denver domestic violence lawyer.

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.