Domestic Violence: No Real Winners

Any actions of abuse from one partner against the other in an intimate setting such as a family, marriage or a dating relationship can be classified as domestic violence. Domestic violence includes physical aggression such as striking, shoving, kicking, hitting, slapping, restraining, sexually abusing, neglecting, stalking, emotionally abusing or controlling another. Throwing your own cellphone against a wall in a fit of anger or rage can also be labeled as domestic violence. Preventing someone from calling for safety including dialing 911 is routinely charged under Colorado's domestic violence statute.

Domestic violence can occur in any situation; however, we typically see domestic violence occurring immediately before or during a divorce, custody battle or during times of financial or emotional distress including the loss of a job or similar life-changing event. In some cases, the stress is so overwhelming that a person who has not exhibited signs of aggression or abuse can snap or experience their own uncontrolled behavior that leads to poor decision-making or a lack of impulse control.

Regardless of the case or circumstances behind an incident of domestic violence, seeking legal protection during times of domestic violence is important for your own safety and well-being. Domestic violence allegations can also have an impact on other legal proceedings such as divorce, legal separation and child custody. If you have been charged with domestic violence or even suspect that incidents of domestic violence will surface in your divorce of custody case, contact The Drexler Law Group, LLC, in Colorado Springs. With experience in family law and criminal defense, we can protect you from all angles.

There's No Such Thing As "Pressing Charges" In Domestic Violence Cases

A common misconception is that an alleged victim must "press charges" against the other party. The laws regarding domestic violence have changed dramatically, and the alleged victim no longer needs to press charges or even participate in the proceedings; it's up to the investigating police officer and the district attorney to initiate and then pursue the criminal case. In fact, if the accused perpetrator of domestic violence attempts to influence the alleged victim (perhaps to encourage the victim to recant his or her initial report), the defendant can face additional witness tampering felony charges and be subject to more serious penalties.

Even more concerning is that in the vast majority of cases, someone is going to be arrested. Gone are the days of police officers encouraging one of the parties to leave the home for the night. In most cases, police officers may be compelled to take one or both parties into custody. Whether this serves public policy is a significant question for debate, but it's a debate the accused and victim will need to address later while they deal with the serious allegations and ramifications of being involved in the criminal justice system and the family law courts if the parties are in the middle of or just about to pursue a divorce, legal separation or child custody action. Bear in mind that a neighbor overhearing a heated exchange or physical altercation may end up calling 911 despite the intent of either party to involve the police.

Don't Attempt To Handle The Situation on Your Own

After an arrest and criminal charge, very little can be done on your part to improve the situation. However, what you say and how you act after being charged can be the difference between a successful resolution and between having multiple criminal charges, serving a jail sentence and losing temporary or more permanent custody of your own children not to mention being saddled with additional costs, fines, attorney's fees, spousal maintenance, alimony and child support — which is based on the number of overnight spent with your children.

Two things that everyone accused of domestic violence should know:

  1. Once the mandatory protection order is entered, it's illegal for you to make any kind of contact with the alleged victim or to possess any weapons. That's right — even if you have a legally registered firearm, you have to get rid of it.
  2. Hire an attorney immediately and do not under any circumstance try to do this on your own. You will be dealing with so many moving parts of the court system that you can get spun around without any recourse to undue significant and permanent harm.

The natural instinct for almost everyone is to try to "talk it out" with the alleged victim. After all, they will see that you are sorry and just drop the charges, right? False in many ways. This is not only a bad idea, since it could result in the filing of additional charges, but this action also serves no purpose and makes no point.

Colorado law provides that the prosecuting attorney has sole discretion to drop charges or move the case forward, not the victim and certainly not the defendant. Imagine the future testimony where the district attorney places the alleged victim on the stand and has him or her testify to your efforts to talk them into dropping the charges or tell the victim advocate that they no longer want to proceed in the case. This looks awful for the defendant, and it appears that it's another effort to control the victim or manipulate your victim. here is nothing good that will come of an attempt to try to control the case. The best strategy in every single case is to remove yourself from the middle and find an experienced criminal defense and family law attorney to advocate for you, to collect the necessary facts, to interview the alleged victim and other witnesses, to examine the information and evidence in the possession of the district attorney and to present your case to both the prosecution and the court and, if some cases, ultimately to a jury.

Help Is Available

At The Drexler Law Group, LLC, we understand that you or your family may be in the middle of a tough situation if you or someone you love has been charged with domestic violence or is the impacted victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence truly has no winners; however, with proper representation, your situation can be improved dramatically.

Contact The Drexler Law Group, LLC, for an honest evaluation during a free consultation to determine the best strategy in your case and to determine how to best manage the influence of domestic violence either as the victim or the criminally accused. To schedule a consultation, please complete a contact form or call us at 719-359-4623.