September 28, 2023
The Denver police have a new chief, and he has already promised to use a new approach to tackle domestic violence cases in Colorado.
What might this mean for those charged? Probably not a whole lot.
Below, we’re going to tell you more about his proposed changes and what’s likely to stay the same.
New Denver Police Chief, New Policies… Sort Of
District 1 Commander Paul Pazen is now the Chief of Police for Denver. He is a Denver native and has worked for the Denver Police Department for 24 years. He served as a district commander for the past six years and was a US Marine in the Gulf war.
Pazen has said that his intention is mostly to build on the policies of his predecessor and revamp the use-of-force policy to rebuild trust in the community. When it comes to domestic violence cases, Pazen favors using an evidence-based approach to prove guilt. He also wants to focus on prevention and education programs to reduce the high number of calls and reports of domestic violence.
While preventing more instances of domestic violence from occurring is certainly noble goal, it is unlikely that his policy will have much of an effect on what happens once a call does go out. After a report is filed against you, you will still have to face our state’s strict laws on domestic violence.
Colorado Domestic Violence Laws
The domestic violence laws in Colorado penalize acts of violence occurring in intimate relationships. These relationships include:
- Current or former spouses
- Current or former dating partners
- Parents of the same child, regardless if they were married or ever lived together
Domestic violence includes other crimes or violations intended to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or seek revenge against someone within an intimate relationship. An example could be setting fire to a former girlfriend’s property with the intent of seeking revenge against her.
Those facing charges for crimes of domestic violence may also be subject to a protective order. This order is issued by the judge after arrest and will prohibit you from being in the vicinity of the alleged victim. If you and the victim have children together, the protective order could temporarily override your child custody rights.
Penalties for Colorado Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic violence is not a stand-alone crime in Colorado. Rather, the original crime will be enhanced with domestic violence charges. For example, a conviction for assault, theft, or arson within an intimate relationship will carry the normal penalties as well as a “domestic violence enhancement” that will necessitate your participation in and completion of a domestic violence treatment program.
Additionally, the judge may require evaluation for domestic violence prior to sentencing if he or she determines that the evaluation could help in forming the final sentence. However, if the offense is at a felony level that involves a prison sentence, a treatment program requirement will be waived.
If a defendant has three or more prior convictions for charges that involve domestic violence, penalties can increase for future crimes. It’s also important to note that any misdemeanor charge can be raised to a class 5 felony, and the prosecution can request that the defendant be declared a habitual domestic violence offender, which could affect sentencing and penalties.
Legal Help for Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
Since law enforcement officials will be looking for more evidence against you in a domestic violence case, it’s essential to work with a highly skilled Colorado criminal attorney. You need a tough advocate who will use the best strategies to fight your charges. Get in touch today for a free evaluation.
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.