How Will Colorado’s Red Flag Law Impact Domestic Violence Cases?

Recently, Colorado passed a new law known as a Red Flag law. Under this law, a family member or law enforcement officers can petition for an individual to be stripped of their firearms if they are ruled by a judge to be a threat. Here is how this works and how it may impact those involved in future domestic violence cases.

For the Red Flag law to be applied to a case, an individual with a particular relationship to the individual must file for an extreme risk protection order. This may include people related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership or adoption. Legal guardians, former partners or those who have recently resided with the individual can also apply. Finally, law enforcement officers may apply for these orders.

When an order goes into affect, even those which are temporary and issued in advance of a formal trial, a judge must conduct a same-day hearing to determine whether to grant the risk. This hearing is with the petitioner, not the accused. Individuals on the receiving end of such an order will likely have their weapons seized, as the Red Flag law releases a weapons search warrant alongside the temporary order.

The law seeks to minimize risk for those who may be in danger of domestic violence related injury or death. However, those who are accused of dangerous behavior are at risk of losing their right to bear firearms over the long term, depending on the outcome of a trial to follow the temporary order. Having proper representation by a Colorado lawyer can help ensure that a fair decision is made with this new law in mind.

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