Colorado doesn’t have a specific statute covering domestic violence as opposed to a physical assault or other crime against a stranger. However, the criminal code does define domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence against a person whom the defendant has an intimate relationship with, such as a a current or former spouse, partner, co-habitant, or co-parent, when the act is used to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or seek revenge against that person.
Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, call 911 during any emergency. To follow up and see if a criminal charge is being pressed, you can contact your local district attorney’s office.
Colorado Domestic Violence Laws Overview
The charges and penalties under Colorado’s domestic violence laws are detailed below. Keep in mind; you can also be prosecuted under a domestic violence statute, the parties involved must have been in an “intimate relationship,” meaning current or former spouses, current or former unmarried couples, or parents of the same child.
- Colorado Code §18-6-800.3 (Domestic Violence/Intimate Relationship Violence)
Penalties and Sentencing
If a person commits a crime of domestic violence, many aspects of his or her sentencing will be affected, including the following:
- Domestic Violence Treatment Programs– The person will be ordered to complete a domestic violence treatment program or evaluation, if not sentenced to prison.
- House Arrest– Although house arrest or home detention with an electronic monitor is often available, it’s not a sentencing option for domestic violence related cases, if the home is the same as the victim’s house.
- Probation– The court has to consider the safety of the victim and any children before probation is granted.
- Prior Convictions– If a defendant has been previously convicted of a domestic violence related crime three times or more, than even if the crime committed this time is a misdemeanor, the person can be charged as a “habitual domestic violence offender” and convicted of a Class 5 Felony. Class 5 felonies are presumptively, which can be doubled if the offense is a "crime of violence" (such as sexual offenses and some assaults) to 2-6 years.
- Guns– An offender who commits a domestic violence crime that’s a misdemeanor or that can be punished by more than a year will not be able to buy or possess any guns or ammunition. Also, while a person is restrained by a protection order from contacting a particular person, he or she can’t buy or own guns. The defendant can sell or give the gun to someone else, or arrange to store the gun (generally for a fee) with a law enforcement agency or licensed firearms dealer until gun rights are restored.
- A protection order is a legal document that requires your abuser to stay away from you, and sometimes your children or new partner, your school, or your workplace. If an abuser violates a protection order, he or she can be arrested and may be found guilty of the crime of violating the order.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Colorado Codes and Supreme Court Decisions
If you have additional questions about Colorado’s domestic violence laws, click on the following links:
Charged with Domestic Violence in Colorado? Contact an Attorney
If you’re facing a domestic violence-related crime charge in Colorado, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You’ll want to tell your attorney what happened, whether there’s a protection order, and if you have guns.