We will be speaking at the Nowak Society on May 29, 2024, 6:30 – 8:30, discussing Colorado’s Natural Medicine Health Act (psychedelics?). Click here to learn more

Although the holidays are deemed a time of celebrating and spending time with family and friends, the stress and anxiety of the holidays can push people’s patience too far, often resulting in domestic disputes.

If you or a person you know are currently involved in an issue that may result in police officer contact, has resulted in police officer contact, or has already reached the level of being charged or arrested, the Law Offices of Clifton Black is able to help from initial contact with police through the entire court process. Please contact us at (719) 328-1616.

A normal family dispute can unexpectedly evolve from a misunderstanding to a heated argument, and even further, resulting in unpleasant words, physical altercations, and even damaged property. Individuals may find themselves in a situation unexpectedly escalating to a point where the police are called.

Unfortunately, people that find themselves in the middle of a domestic dispute that involves law enforcement do not usually have the option to have legal counsel providing advice on how to handle the situation. These individuals often make statements to police that can be used against them by the prosecution in court, i.e., make admissions that can later be used as evidence. In this situation, it is extremely important to exercise both the 5th & 6th US Constitutional Amendments, basically the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning, respectively.

In Colorado, law enforcement does not have much discretion in whether or not to charge. If they believe a crime has occurred, even if it was extremely minor in nature, the police are generally going to arrest at least one person involved, sometimes both, and place anyone charged with a crime in jail until they can be brought in front of a judge. Moreover, when a person is arrested a mandatory protection order is placed on the person charged, preventing them from returning to their home and even having contact with their family members and significant others.

Additionally, a domestic violence charge or conviction can have lifelong effects, affecting family relationships, jobs, and even obtaining housing.

Under Colorado Law, Domestic Violence means an act or threatening an act of violence against a person whom the actor (defendant) is or was previously involved with in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence also includes other crimes, whether State law (statutes) or Municipal law (ordinances) against a person or against property, when used as a method of coercion (force), control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge.

The most common charges in a domestic violence case are:

  • Harassment. Harassment can be charged through several different actions. Harassment can be charged by 1) having physical contact with a person by striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching a person or subjecting the other person to physical contact, 2) using obscene language (generally cuss words) against a person in a public place 3) follows a person in a public place, 4) attempts to harass, annoy, make physical threats or threats against property through various forms of communication like phone calls, text messages, computer system or network, social media, etc., and 5) repeated phone calls. Harassment is charged as a misdemeanor.
  • Assault. Assault is basically causing injury to another person. Injuries can range from physical pain to more serious injuries like broken skin, bruises, cuts or lacerations, broken bones and other injuries. Assault can be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the injury. If the allegation includes serious bodily injury, which can be a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, or a substantial risk of a loss or function of any part of the body, breaks, fractures or burns, the charge can be a high-level felony, a felony 3.
  • Criminal Mischief. Criminal Mischief is damaging the real or personal property of another. This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the monetary amount of damage to the property. Often people are charged for hitting a wall causing damage or throwing an object which breaks or damages something else.
  • Menacing. Menacing is threatening a person. Menacing (also called battery) can be charged as a misdemeanor or charged as a felony if the threat to another person is done so by threatening to use a weapon. Most often people think of weapons as guns and knives, but anything object can be classified as a weapon if the threat includes using an object as a weapon. This can include weapons, utensils, bottles, glasses, and even vehicles (vehicular assault).
  • Obstruction of Telephone Service. Obstruction of telephone service is usually charged when a person prevents another person from making a call. This is often charged when during the heat of an argument, one party attempts to make a call and the other party grabs the phone. It can also be charged for merely taking the phone and preventing the person from making a call at a future date. This is charged as a misdemeanor.
  • False Imprisonment. False Imprisonment is a charge that the defendant is often surprised they are charged with. False Imprisonment is intentionally preventing the movement of another person without the other persons consent nor legal authority to do so. We most often see this charge when a couple is arguing, and one person attempts to leave a room and the other person wants them to stay involved in the argument, possibly hoping to resolve the argument. It can be as simple as closing or blocking a door to keep the other person present or even putting your hand in front of them.
  • Kidnapping. Kidnapping is most often thought of as taking a person away to hold them against their will to receive something of value (ransom), which can be charged as a felony 1 or felony 2. However, in domestic violence cases, it is most often charged by the act of physically moving a person from one place to another. For example, if a couple is arguing and one leaves the bedroom, but the other person wants them back in the bedroom to resolve the dispute, and physically moves them, it is kidnapping. This particular type of kidnapping is still a serious offense and charged as a felony 4.

 

The above charges are often charged without much police discretion, because often police have no choice but to arrest a person.

However, many jurisdictions in Colorado have recognized that a minor isolated incident does not necessarily reach the level of domestic violence, meaning the act was not intended to coerce, threaten, control, or harm another person. Furthermore, in many situations, argumentatively, the person should not have been charged. This often just brings more stress and anxiety to the relationship. The Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC are experienced in these types of cases, and are able to get many cases dismissed. By having a thorough understanding of the law, and an in-depth knowledge of the system, often we are able to reach agreements with the prosecution to dismiss the case.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is prepared to represent clients in the State of Colorado. We can be reached at (719) 328-1616.

 

This is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice should only be obtained in an attorney/client privileged relationship, which usually occurs in a private setting, like in a law office.

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Exceptional Experience & Results

For over 20 years we have represented clients in Colorado from a client-centered approach. We are experts within the areas of Cannabis Law, Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Business Law. We believe in protecting the rights of businesses and individuals with precision, exceeding client expectations with each case. Client satisfaction inspires us to strive for excellence in everything we do.

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