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Domestic violence is a crime that can happen to anyone at any time. It doesn’t matter what your age is, what your gender is, or even your sexual orientation – anyone can be a victim just like anyone can be a perpetrator. Even financial, social, and educational status make no difference.
For all of these reasons, it’s important to understand what domestic violence is and to understand the signs of it. it may sound strange, but people may not understand when they’re being subjected to it or even if they’re subjecting someone else to it. That’s why raising awareness about what domestic violence is and how the state of Colorado handles it is one way to help people become more aware and help reduce its occurrence.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence in Colorado, including signs that it could be occurring in your household and what penalties can be faced if someone is convicted of it.
In Colorado, domestic violence occurs when someone threatens another with acts of violence or commits violent acts against them. The victim must be involved in an intimate relationship with the perpetrator in order for it to be considered domestic violence. An intimate relationship is defined as a relationship between:
● Former or current spouses
● Former or current couples in romantic relationships
● Those who share a child regardless of marital history
If you are found guilty of perpetrating domestic violence against another person, then you can face some steep penalties in Colorado. However, domestic violence is not viewed under the law as a separate offense but rather as an aggravating factor in another violent act.
In addition to the penalties a person can face for the underlying violent act, you can also be ordered by the court to complete a treatment program that focuses on domestic violence, which includes taking the time to be evaluated for treatment.
The court can order someone convicted of a crime that involved domestic violence to be evaluated before they are sentenced. The purpose of this is to help the court determine what an appropriate sentence should be. If someone is convicted of a domestic violence offense and receives penalties other than a prison sentence, then they will be required to complete a treatment program.
Anyone who has previous convictions involving domestic violence and is convicted of a new offense may face increased penalties. For example, if the underlying crime is a misdemeanor, a previous domestic violence conviction could make the penalties equal to that of a felony. Prosecutors can also have someone deemed a habitual domestic violence offender, which can result in imprisonment for a Class 5 felony – which is up to four years in prison.
As mentioned, sometimes people may be in situations where domestic violence is occurring, and they are not aware of it. To say it’s a complicated matter is an understatement, which is why it’s vital to understand the signs of domestic violence.
Often, situations involving domestic violence will have friends or family expressing concern over the relationship. Or sometimes those involved may question whether what is occurring in their relationship is normal or not.
The truth of the matter is that things a partner does or says have a huge impact on you. Not every situation involving domestic violence will leave physical signs behind – some are entirely mental or emotional.
Signs of domestic violence often include:
In many instances, a person who is the victim of domestic violence is isolated from their friends and family. They’ve had their support system taken away from them.
Frequent injuries caused by the partner are another sign of domestic violence.
Sometimes a partner will want the other to dress in a different way, perhaps a way that is less provocative. Or they may choose to wear unusual clothes for the weather such as long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses inside to hide potential injuries.
Those involved in relationships involving domestic violence tend to be less social, with plenty of excuses as to why they cannot come to social events.
Sometimes abusive partners can really impact a person’s confidence. If you notice a sudden shift in how you feel about yourself, then you need to think about why that is and what it may have to do with your partner or former partner.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does give you some idea of the external signs that domestic violence is occurring.
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 recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.