When most people hear the term “domestic violence,” they imagine a Lifetime movie with the stereotypical wife-beater using his partner as a punching bag. However, domestic violence can take many forms and affect people of all types. At the Law Offices of Murphy & Price, LLP., we have met many people charged with criminal domestic violence or child abuse and they are distraught because they have never hit anyone. In today’s post, we will take a look at some of the other ways you can find yourself facing domestic violence charges without ever striking someone.
At Murphy & Price, LLP., we have been serving the residents of Colorado Springs, Fort Carson, and the surrounding area for more than 20 years. We have heard it all when it comes to domestic violence charges. We are here to help you get the criminal defense you deserve to have a fair stake in the fight. When you contact us for your complimentary consultation, our legal defense team will begin building your case right away.
Before we dive right into what things you may be surprised to learn about what can be charged as domestic violence, let’s take a brief look at what domestic violence in Colorado is. Colorado domestic violence (DV) criminal coding falls under the statute of whatever crime is accused, but is considered an enhanced charge or aggravated. Cases that can be charged as DV are those that include an act or the threat of an act of violence against a person with whom the defendant has an intimate relationship with — current or former spouse (including common law), partner, co-habitant, or co-parent when the act is meant to coerce, control, punish, humiliate, intimidate, or enact revenge against that person. Learn more about domestic violence and child abuse on our dedicated topic webpage.
1. Preventing Your Partner From Storming Out
In a heated argument when one of you attempts to leave the situation and the other blocks the doorway, takes keys, cellphone, wallet or purse, or grabs the arm of the other, these are all means of preventing your partner from willfully leaving and thus becomes chargeable as kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment. Many will argue that attempting to prevent your partner from leaving is an attempt to reconcile or continue the relationship by keeping them in your home, but many court systems and prosecutors will attempt to show coercion, control, or physical force. It is important to note that physically blocking your partner from moving freely or grabbing their arm to prevent them from walking out the door can both be perceived as physical violence and assault charges may follow.
2. Dumping a Drink on Them
We have heard many defendants who have been charged with domestic violence in Colorado Springs make statements like “I didn’t hit them, I threw their beer in their face!” And, while we may agree that this is not assault because no physical contact was made, under Colorado State law, any object or body part used to make contact in a violent matter is considered assault and you may find yourself facing criminal DV charges.
3. Threatening Harm, Without Following Through
Threats of harm, whether you intend to follow-through or not are considered abusive language and are grounds for domestic violence charges if the person you threaten believes the threat to be credible. Threats that may result in DV charges in Colorado include those that are made against your partner, their family, children, or pets. The threats can be made verbally, via text or typed communication, written, or made to someone else about your partner. Threats of harm can include threats of death, violence, or removal of children or pets from their custody. It is important to be aware of what you are saying in anger, only say the things you mean, and be prepared to face consequences of threats even if you do not intend to make good on them.
4. Breaking Their Property
As we discussed in the situation with the drink being emptied onto your partner acting as a violent extension of yourself, your partner’s property is considered an extension of their person under Colorado law. Breaking or damaging property intentionally as a form of control of the situation or to enact revenge, coerce, or intimidate your partner is considered an act of domestic violence. While smashing your partner’s phone is considered DV, accidentally dropping a plate during an argument is not. The prosecution must prove that you had intent to break, damage, or destroy the property.
It is important for you to understand what domestic violence is and what actions may land you facing charges. Every couple fights, but when it escalates to the point that law enforcement gets involved, Colorado state law requires a mandatory arrest of one or both parties involved to prevent escalation to murder. No longer is domestic violence a charge brought against a man who beats his wife, but nearly anyone who had an angry outburst at their partner may find themselves under arrest and facing charges. If you have been charged with assault, domestic violence, or child abuse, do not attempt to face the charges on your own. Contact the criminal defense attorneys who have been representing Colorado Springs clients for more than 25 years. Connect with the Law Office of Murphy and Price, LLP today!