Getting Domestic Violence Charges Dropped in Colorado in Not a Simple Matter
A matter of minutes – that is all the time it takes for a heated argument with your significant other to end with you sitting in the back of a Colorado Springs squad car, arrested for domestic violence.
Prosecutors will be equally swift in charging you with this serious criminal offense. Once they do so, it can be tough to get domestic violence charges dropped in Colorado; even if the allegations are false, even if the alleged victim doesn’t want you prosecuted.
As with all other criminal charges, Colorado Springs prosecutors have the power to drop or reduce domestic violence charges to a lesser offense. Unlike other crimes, however, that power is much more limited.
Designed to protect alleged victims of domestic violence, Colorado law also makes it significantly more challenging to have your domestic violence charges dropped. That is why it is so critical to retain an experienced Colorado Springs domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Broad Definition of Domestic Violence in Colorado
Because of the use of the term “violence,” many people mistakenly believe that domestic violence must involve actual physical acts or harm against an alleged victim. Colorado’s broad definition of domestic violence includes verbal or written threats, as well as acts or threats against property.
This means that police can and will arrest you based on words alone.
Learn more: Domestic violence is defined in Section 18-6-800.3 of Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Mandatory Arrest and “No-Drop” Policy
Colorado law is very specific and clear about the process and procedures involved in domestic violence cases, leaving little discretion for law enforcement even if the case against you appears to be weak.
Specifically, if a responding Colorado Springs police officer determines that there is probable cause that you committed an act of domestic violence, they must arrest you, charge you, and take you to jail. As noted, police can base that “probable cause” on nothing more than an accusation, even if there is no other evidence that you did anything improper at all.
Once our local Colorado Springs prosecutors charge you with domestic violence, you’ll discover that Colorado has a “no-drop” policy in these cases. One aspect of this policy is that even if your spouse, significant other, or another person who accused you of the crime asks prosecutors repeatedly to have your domestic violence charges dropped, they won’t do so. Prosecutors simply won’t take into consideration that the two of you have kissed and made up.
The only circumstances when a prosecutor can drop domestic violence charges is when he or she tells a judge that they do not have enough credible, admissible evidence to prove that you committed the crime.
This is when a skilled domestic violence defense attorney can change the direction of your ordeal, and hopefully bring it to a swift and positive conclusion.
Challenging Evidence, Convincing Prosecutors to Drop Domestic Violence Charges
In conjunction with other challenges, prosecutors may have, your Colorado Springs defense lawyer can attack the credibility, sufficiency and admissibility of the evidence, making it daunting or impossible for prosecutors to move forward, leading to dismissal and getting your domestic violence charges dropped.
Here are three reasons Colorado Springs prosecutors may drop a domestic violence case:
1. Lack of Evidence of Domestic Violence
While an allegation alone may be enough for your arrest and charges, prosecutors will need more than that to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is unlikely they will be able to do so if:
There is no physical evidence of the altercation
No witnesses other than the alleged victim can credibly testify about what occurred
There are no recordings, writings, video, or other physical evidence of threats or physical acts
There is no evidence of prior acts, threats, arrests, or convictions
2. Evidence in Your Favor
One of the most important things you can do after someone accuses you of domestic violence is to document everything that occurred. The more records a party has, the more support they may have for their side of what is often a “he said/she said” situation. In many cases, the person accused of domestic violence is actually the victim of domestic violence. "Defensive injuries" can include scratch marks, bite wounds, bruises, lacerations, and other injuries. Document any injuries by taking photos immediately after the incident. This exculpatory evidence can go a long way in dissuading prosecutors from moving forward.
3. Uncooperative Victim
While an alleged victim of domestic violence has no authority to “drop the charges,” they are also under no obligation to help prosecutors prove their case. While Colorado Springs prosecutors can move forward even if the alleged victim refuses to testify, if he or she changes their story, recants their allegation, or is unable to credibly recall what happened, that can be a death blow to the prosecution’s ability to prove their case.
Request Your Free Consultation with a Colorado Springs Criminal Law Attorney
Of all the things you can do after a domestic violence arrest, trying to handle the situation on your own may be the worst. Without an experienced domestic violence defense attorney protecting your rights and guiding you through the next steps, you could cost yourself the chance of getting your domestic violence charges dropped.
Attorney James Newby is one of the most respected criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs. To request a free consultation please call the number below or contact him via email by completing our free consultation with a criminal defense attorney form.