a criminal defense
Fort Collins Domestic Violence Attorney
At Bruno Lilly Legal, PLLC, our Fort Collins domestic violence defense attorney is a compassionate, zealous advocate for clients. Domestic violence is a serious matter. These cases should be handled and defended with the utmost care, sensitivity, and professional skill.
False allegations happen. Every person has the right to defend themselves in court. If you or your loved one was arrested and charged with any type of domestic violence-related offense, please contact our Fort Collins defense attorney today for a completely confidential, no obligation.
An Overview of Domestic Violence Laws in Colorado
Domestic violence is a complex, often misunderstood criminal offense in Colorado. Technically speaking, the state does not have a specific crime called “domestic violence.” Indeed, domestic violence is not a standalone crime, but rather a sentence enhancement that can increase the severity of a charge in cases where the victim and perpetrator are in a domestic relationship.
Under Colorado law (C.R.S. § 18-6-800.3), the term domestic violence is broadly defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” Additionally, the term also includes crimes motivated as a “method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge” against a victim with whom the alleged perpetrator has an intimate relationship. For the purposes of the Colorado domestic violence enhancement statute, the term intimate relationship includes the following:
- Former spouse;
- Unmarried couple;
- Ex-romantic partner (unmarried); and
- Co-parents, regardless of current or former relationship status.
Understanding the Types of Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
A compassionate, experienced, and highly skilled Fort Collins criminal defense lawyer, our lead attorney Havilah Louise Bruno Lilly has the knowledge and expertise to handle the full spectrum of domestic violence cases in Colorado—from misdemeanors to the most serious of felony charges. Here is an overview of some of the most common types of domestic violence charges:
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse charges for domestic violence typically fall under (CRS § 18-3-202 – 204, which are the sections of the state statutes that cover first, second, and third degree assault. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence in Colorado. It can be an issue in family law cases. If actionable threats of harm are made against the victim, emotional abuse may also be charged as a criminal offense.
- Stalking: CRS § 18-3-602 is also referred to as Vonnie’s Law. It is a criminal statute that prohibits stalking. Stalking is a felony offense in Colorado and is considered to be an “extraordinary risk” crime. A first time offense carries significant jail time.
- Child Abuse: Child abuse is a serious criminal offense in Colorado. In some cases, there could be a domestic violence enhancement (CRS § 18-6-401).
- Sexual Abuse, including Unlawful Sexual Contact: In some cases, domestic violence cases involve allegations of sex-based criminal offenses, such as unlawful sexual contact: CRS § 18-3-404 or sexual assault: CRS § 18-3-402. Of course, these are serious criminal offenses on their own. Domestic violence enhances the penalties even further.
- Restraining Order Violations: A domestic violence restraining order (protective order) is legally enforceable. Any person who violates a restraining order could be subject to an immediate arrest—even if they have not previously been convicted of a domestic violence offense. Knowingly violating a domestic violence restraining order in Colorado is a misdemeanor offense that carries up to 18 months in jail.
What are the Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado?
Domestic violence is a serious matter. It would be a mistake to view any domestic violence allegations as a minor issue. It can carry very serious criminal penalties as well as other adverse consequences. The ramifications of a domestic violence conviction in Fort Collins, CO may include:
- Fines and other financial costs;
- Jail time, a potential state prison for a felony charge;
- A restraining order was put in place by the victim;
- Adverse impact on the offender’s family law rights, including custody/visitation; and
- Potential public disclosures under Megan’s Law (sex crimes cases).
How to Build a Defense Strategy Against Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado
Facing a domestic violence allegation in Fort Collins is never easy. It is crucial that you know what to do to protect yourself and your rights. Here are three key steps to take to build a defense strategy:
- Consult With an Experienced Fort Collins Defense Lawyer: You do not have to go up against prosecutors alone. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you should consult with an experienced Fort Collins criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
- Gather, Organize, and Review the Relevant Evidence: Your defense lawyer will help you gather, organize, and review any relevant evidence that can support your case. Evidence matters; it may include witness statements, photographs, text messages/email messages, and medical or police reports.
- Understand the Prosecution’s Case Against You: Prosecutors in Colorado have the burden of proving selected domestic violence charges beyond a reasonable doubt. A Fort Collins, CO defense lawyer can help you understand their case.
Know the Most Common Legal Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge
Every domestic violence case is unique. How to defend the charge will depend on many factors, including the specific nature of the allegations, the evidence that the prosecution has, and the evidence you have. Common legal defenses against domestic violence charges in Colorado include:
- Self-Defense: A common defense domestic violence charge is self-defense. The defense argues that the accused (lawfully) acted in self-defense because they reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of harm from the alleged victim.
- False Accusations: False accusations are another common defense in domestic violence cases. The unfortunate reality is that some domestic violence allegations are raised on false grounds, such as for revenge or to gain an advantage in a divorce/custody dispute.
- Lack of Evidence: Lack of evidence is another defense that can be raised in domestic violence cases. If the state lacks sufficient evidence to prove all elements of the selected charge, then the case should be dismissed.
- Mistaken Identity: Mistaken identity is a defense that can be raised in domestic violence cases when the accused was not present at the time of the crime and was not the person who committed the crime. For example, it could be a viable defense in a stalking case.
Domestic Violence Charges in Fort Collins: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Give a Statement to the Police?
No, you should not give a statement to the police after a domestic violence arrest. Instead, it is essential that you immediately seek the assistance of a qualified Fort Collins, CO defense lawyer. Your attorney can provide you with the legal guidance you need to protect your rights and interests and ensure that your statement is not used against you in court. The Fifth Amendment is clear: You are not obligated to talk to police or prosecutors. Your silence cannot be used against you in court.
What Does it Mean that Domestic Violence is Not its Own Criminal Offense in Colorado?
In Colorado, domestic violence is not its own criminal offense, but rather an enhancement to other criminal charges. Put another way, if a person is charged with a crime such as assault, harassment, or criminal mischief and the victim is a cohabitant or a person with whom the accused has had an intimate relationship, the charges may be elevated to include domestic violence. The addition of the domestic violence enhancement can result in more severe penalties, including longer jail sentences and higher fines. If you have any questions or concerns about domestic violence enhancements, our Fort Collins domestic violence defense lawyer can help.
Will a Domestic Violence Conviction Impact My Family Law Rights?
Yes, a domestic violence conviction can impact your family law rights—or, at the very least, it can negatively affect your ability to see your children or make decisions regarding their welfare. It is important to consider the family law implications of a domestic violence charge as part of your criminal defense strategy. An experienced Fort Collins domestic violence defense attorney can work with you to understand the potential impact of a conviction on your family law rights and develop a comprehensive defense strategy that takes into account all of the relevant legal issues.
How Our Fort Collins, Colorado Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Can Help
As a former prosecutor in the Weld County District Attorney’s office, our managing partner Havilah Louise Bruno Lilly is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience handling domestic violence cases. She has the knowledge, expertise, and well-rounded background that you can trust. We work proactively to protect the rights and interests of clients. When you contact our team, you will be able to connect with a Fort Collins domestic violence defense attorney who can:
- Listen to what you have to say and answer questions about your rights and your options;
- Investigate the domestic violence allegations, gathering relevant evidence; and
- Develop a personalized legal defense strategy designed to help you get the best outcome.
Contact Our Fort Collins, CO Domestic Violence Defense Attorney for Immediate Help
At Bruno Lilly Legal, PLLC, our Fort Collins domestic violence defense attorney has the professional skills and legal experience that you can trust. If you were accused of domestic violence, we are ready to protect your rights. Contact us today for a confidential consultation. We provide domestic violence defense representation in Fort Collins, Larimer County, and all around the region.
People v. A. G. - Weld County
Client charged with domestic violence.
Case dismissed - January 2022
People v. S. A. - Weld County
Client charged with domestic violence.
Case dismissed - January 2022
Contact Bruno Lilly Legal today to get a case consultation. Learn more about what we can do for you.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
From our Greeley office, we provide legal representation to those in Greeley, Loveland, Windsor, Boulder, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Evans, Eaton, Brighton, Fort Lupton, Boulder County, Larimer County, Weld County, and Adams County.