Does Colorado Have Mandatory Sentencing for Domestic Violence?
Yes. If you are convicted of a criminal offense that is categorized as domestic violence, you must complete a domestic violence evaluation which will recommend a level of treatment. A recommendation that no treatment is needed is not an option for a certified domestic violence evaluator to give.
Who Decides What Is Included in The Domestic Violence Evaluation?
Domestic violence evaluations and treatment in Colorado is governed by the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB). They promulgate standards for evaluators who are licensed in the State.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is not a crime in itself. It is a category of crimes. In Colorado, pursuant to Section 18-6-800.3, C.R.S., “Domestic violence means an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with who the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence also includes any other crime against a person, or against property, including an animal, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person, or against property, including an animal, when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involve in an intimate relationship”.
Do We Have to Have Had Sex to Be in An Intimate Relationship?
No, the Colorado courts have ruled that an intimate relationship does not require a sexual component.
Can I Get a Deferred Prosecution if I Am Charged with An Act of Domestic Violence?
No, in Colorado, since 1994, the Legislature has prohibited District Attorneys from offering deferred prosecution pleas on cases involving domestic violence.
Is a Deferred Judgment a Possibility?
Yes. District Attorneys frequently offer pleas involving a deferred judgment to cases involving domestic violence allegations.
What Is the Difference Between a Deferred Judgment and A Deferred Prosecution?
In a deferred prosecution, no conviction ever enters and the Defendant does not give up their right to a jury trial. They never have to admit guilt. The prosecution of the case is deferred for a specified amount of time and if the Defendant does what they are supposed to do (often classes) and doesn’t do anything they’re not supposed to do (have another offense, etc.) then the case is dismissed with no plea having ever entered.
A deferred judgment requires a guilty plea which is held in abeyance for a specified amount of time. During that time, the Defendant must complete a domestic violence evaluation and treatment. The treatment is rarely shorter than 36 weeks. During this time the individual is on probation and must report to the probation department, might be required to participate in monitored sobriety, substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, etc. If at the end of the time period, the individual has done what they were supposed to do and not done anything they weren’t supposed to do, then they are permitted to withdraw their plea of guilty and the charge is dismissed.
Can I Seal My Record if I Successfully Complete a Domestic Violence Deferred Judgment?
Yes, provided that all charges were dismissed. Sometimes a plea involves a split plea in which there is a deferred judgment to a felony count and a straight up plea to a misdemeanor count. In that case, typically, it is not eligible to be sealed.
Can a Domestic Violence Conviction Have Consequences in My Divorce?
Yes, if your case involves children. In determining parental responsibilities/decision making as well as parenting time pursuant to Section 14-10-124, C.R.S., one of the statutory factors the court must consider in evaluating the best interests of the children is whether one parent has been a perpetrator of domestic violence.
Additionally, a court shall not order joint decision making, over the objection of the other party, in cases in which one parent has been a victim of domestic violence unless the court finds that the parents are able to work together to make joint decisions in the best interest of their children.
Does This Apply to A Deferred Judgment or Only Actual Convictions?
The finding that the court makes regarding domestic violence for parenting purposes applies even if an individual accepts a deferred judgment. The standard is different since the court in the divorce case would only be required to find that the act occurred by a preponderance of the evidence rather than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard required for a conviction in criminal court.