In Colorado, and Boulder especially, police believe that if they are called out on a domestic violence case, someone has to go to jail. This is not the law , but that is what many believe. A recent case involved a wife asking for help with a non-violent, but out of control intoxicated partner. Instead of an ambulance and detox at the ARC, the police came and arrested. No one said either person struck the other, including an independent witness. Yet, an arrest happened and months pass prior to the case resolution.
As with much policy, domestic violence law enforcement started with a reaction to prior failures to properly deal with a serious issue, but has turned to a one size fits all over-reaction. Where society needed to change to prevent true violence towards women, it has turned to seeing all cases as the first sign in the slow progression to severe violence. And the government needs to protect the victim that does not know what s/he is doing, her victim-hood is so great that s/he cannot protect herself.
In cases where the power struggle of an argument turns to regretted false or exaggerated allegation, people often try to undo their wrong themselves by calling the police or prosecution or judge and saying the truth. Any attempt by the victim to retract a false claim made in anger or without admitting his/her own actions is met with “recanting victim” ideology. The retraction proves the initial statement is true because that is what victims do. There is a better way to resolve these cases than for the victim to attempt to talk the prosecution into dismissing or otherwise minimizing the case. I can help.
In cases were the conflict will not resolve and the claim is false, we often see a motive to lie. This may be for child custody or divorce leverage. It can be pure revenge over the end of a relationship. It can also just be a truly unhappy person that wants others to know how s/he feels by watching the world burn. Mental health issues are often prevalent. Finding the motivation and proving it is often as much art as skill. I work with my client and what I know about the victim to feel what it is like to be the victim. To empathize with and even love the victim so I can best interview and cross examine him/her. The process allows the motive to expose itself.
In Colorado, a person arrested for Domestic Violence cannot be released from jail until they see a Judge. This wait can be several days if arrested on Thursday or Friday. The Judge will issue a mandatory protection order forcing the accused out of the shared home, and preventing any contact with the victim. If children are involved, the Judge will often prevent contact with them as well. Although a Sheriff’s Civil Assist can allow a few minutes to get basic items from the house, this is never enough time. You will not return home until the Judge allows it, often not for months, and then only after proving you have started Domestic Violence classes, remained sober and otherwise followed the protection order. The victim has to request contact. If the victim recants or minimizes, it is harder to change the protection order. Now, often if you take the plea bargain, they will change the protection order so you can return home. An innocent person has to spend months and money going to trial and win, but a guilty person who takes a plea gets to go home.
Domestic violence charges include a mandatory protection order preventing the possession of any gun or ammunition. A conviction means you lose your gun rights forever. Any guns or ammunition in your possession must be turned over to the police until the end of the case, if you win. You can have a friend or family member take custody of the guns. There is a clear reason for this rule: to protect the very few victims that might be assaulted with a gun. As many know, a person who really wants to cause problems, will. A violation of this protection order can be a very serious charge, likely forcing a plea to a lousy deal to avoid a 6-12 month mandatory jail sentence of a violation of bail bond conditions. All protection order conditions are bail bond conditions. Contact with the victim of any kind is a violation. A violation is both the new charges of violation or protection order and violation of bail bond conditions, plus a revocation of bond. All are domestic violence charges and a conviction means you lose your gun rights forever.
The Judge and the prosecutor are jaded and do not believe you. They will not believe your partner’s change in story. So, how do you fight? I can help. You need experience with the process and the way they think. You need a lawyer that knows how to investigate and present the case to try to get a favorable result without trial. Or, more importantly, to know when there is no way to get the case dismissed, and to go to trial and win. With over 20 years experience on these cases, over 15 years in Boulder county, I have seen what works and what does not. I know how to show your innocence, as well as show the prosecution failure to prove it.
 The Colorado Revised Statutes dictate that if there is probable cause of a domestic violence crime, then an arrest must be made. Probable cause is not a high burden, but there must be some evidence of a crime and who committed it. In cases where the initial aggressor is not easily determined, especially where there is self defense or provocation, police do not have to arrest, but do. The person arrested is often the one with a prior record or the one who did not call police. This is arbitrary, likely born of frustration and gender bias.
If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney for issues regarding with your misdemeanor or felony. We represent clients in Boulder, Colorado and surrounding area. The Savela Law Firm, P.C. Give us a call at (720) 260-7392 or complete our inquiry form.