Domestic Assault Charges
Domestic assault is a serious crime that affects millions of people in the United States. It can cause physical and emotional harm to victims and often goes unreported. Domestic assault charges in Colorado Springs can be complex, and victims may not know what to expect. This guide is designed by Colorado Springs Domestic Assault Attorney to help victims understand domestic assault charges in Colorado Springs and how to navigate the legal system.
What is Domestic Assault?
Domestic assault, also known as domestic violence, is a crime that occurs when one person intentionally causes bodily injury or threatens to cause bodily injury to another person with whom they have a domestic relationship. In Colorado, a domestic relationship can be between spouses, former spouses, people who live together or have lived together, people who are dating or have dated, and people who have a child together.
Domestic assault charges can also include stalking, harassment, and other forms of abusive behavior. The severity of domestic assault charges can vary depending on the circumstances of the crime and the harm caused to the victim.
Understanding Colorado Domestic Assault Laws
In Colorado, domestic assault charges are taken very seriously, and the penalties for a conviction can be severe. Colorado has several different types of domestic assault charges, including:
- Domestic Violence – Misdemeanor: This charge is for an act of domestic violence that results in no bodily injury or only minor bodily injury. A conviction for this charge can result in up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
- Domestic Violence – Felony: This charge is for an act of domestic violence that results in serious bodily injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon. A conviction for this charge can result in up to 24 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000.
- Violation of a Protection Order: This charge is for violating a court-issued protection order, which is intended to keep the victim safe from further harm. A conviction for this charge can result in up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
- Harassment: This charge is for a pattern of behavior that is intended to harass or intimidate the victim. A conviction for this charge can result in up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $750.
- Stalking: This charge is for a pattern of behavior that is intended to cause fear or harm to the victim. A conviction for this charge can result in up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Filing a Police Report
If you are a victim of domestic assault, it is important to report the incident to the police as soon as possible. The police will conduct an investigation and may make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. The victim does not have to press charges for the police to make an arrest.
When filing a police report, it is important to provide as much information as possible about the incident, including the date and time of the assault, the location, and any witnesses. It is also important to document any injuries sustained and seek medical attention if necessary.
Obtaining a Protection Order
A protection order, also known as a restraining order, is a court order that prohibits the offender from contacting or coming near the victim. If the victim feels unsafe and believes that the offender may harm them again, they can request a protection order.
To obtain a protection order, the victim must file a petition with the court and attend a hearing. During the hearing, the victim will be required to provide evidence of the abuse and explain why they need the protection order. If the court grants the protection order, it will be in effect for a certain period of time and can be renewed if necessary.
It is important to note that a protection order is not a guarantee of safety, and victims should take other measures to protect themselves, such as changing their phone number, avoiding contact with the offender, and seeking the assistance of a domestic violence advocate.
The Legal Process for Domestic Assault Charges
If the police make an arrest for domestic assault, the offender will be taken to jail and will have to appear in court for a hearing. The hearing is called an advisement, and the offender will be informed of the charges against them, their rights, and the potential penalties for a conviction.
The offender will then be required to attend a preliminary hearing, which is a court hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial. If the court finds that there is enough evidence, the case will be set for trial.
During the trial, the prosecutor will present evidence to prove that the offender committed the crime. The offender will have the opportunity to present their own evidence and may choose to testify in their own defense. The victim may also be called to testify.
If the offender is found guilty, they will be sentenced by the judge. The penalties for a conviction can vary depending on the type of charge and the circumstances of the crime.
Getting Help for Domestic Assault Victims
Domestic assault can have serious consequences for victims, including physical harm, emotional trauma, and financial difficulties. Fortunately, there are resources available to help victims get the support they need.
Domestic violence advocates can provide emotional support, safety planning, and help with obtaining protection orders. They can also provide information about resources for housing, legal assistance, and financial support.
In Colorado Springs, some organizations that provide support and assistance to domestic assault victims include:
- TESSA: TESSA is a local nonprofit organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including emergency shelter, legal advocacy, and counseling.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention and support to victims of domestic violence. The hotline is available 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
- Colorado Legal Services: Colorado Legal Services provides legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Colorado. They can provide assistance with obtaining protection orders, divorce, and other legal issues related to domestic violence.
Domestic assault is a serious crime that can have long-lasting consequences for victims. If you are a victim of domestic assault in Colorado Springs, it is important to know your rights and the legal process for domestic assault charges.
By filing a police report, obtaining a protection order, and working with a domestic violence advocate, you can take steps to protect yourself and get the support you need.