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CHAPTER 6: SELECTED CRIMINAL OFFENSES - Table of Contents

6.1 - Overview6.2 - Inchoate Offenses6.3 - Homicide6.4 - Assault6.5 - Domestic Violence6.6 - Other Unlawful Offenses against the person6.7 - Unlawful Sexual Behavior6.8 - Offenses against Property6.9 - Tresspass, Tampering and Mischief6.10 - Offenses involving Fraud6.11 - Offenses involving Family Relations6.12 - Offenses relating to Morals6.13 - Offenses against Government Operations and Public Order6.14 - Offenses relating to Weapons6.15 - Offenses relating to Controlled Substances6.16 - Alcohol/Drug related Traffic Incidents6.17 - Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims6.18 - Computer Crimes6.19 - Identity Theft

6.5 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence can take many forms. People often think of it only as physical assault against an intimate partner, but it also includes a host of other offenses. Colorado has defined domestic violence to include acts and threats of violence against an intimate partner, and also "any other crime against a person or against property … when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship." The term intimate relationship means a relationship between "spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both parents of the same child."

Colorado treats domestic violence cases differently than other cases in the contexts of both procedure and sentencing. Part 8 of Article 6 is devoted entirely to domestic violence issues. In addition to containing the definitions described above, Part 8 sets forth these procedural and sentencing differences.

The special evidence rules relating to domestic violence cases are described in detail in Chapter 13.11. Suffice it to say here that the rules are designed to make it easier for a prosecutor to introduce evidence of past acts of domestic violence committed by the defendant.

Another significant difference between domestic violence cases and others is the mandatory arrest provision. The legislature has made a decision that domestic violence cases require the arrest of the alleged perpetrator. C.R.S. 18-6-803.6 requires a police officer who has probable cause to believe a person has committed an act of domestic violence to arrest that person. The person cannot be given a summons and complaint and ordered to appear in court at some future date; the person must be arrested "without undue delay." After arrest, the person may be released pursuant to procedures adopted in that jurisdiction, or the person may have to remain in custody without bond until seen by a judge. Boulder policies require that a person arrested for domestic violence remain in jail until seen by the judge except in extraordinary cases with the prior approval of both the prosecutor and the duty judge. In all cases, the bond includes a mandatory restraining order forbidding the defendant from having any sort of contact with the alleged victim, or having anyone else make contact with the alleged victim on his behalf.

The final major difference is in the sentencing of domestic violence offenders. Anyone convicted of an offense that fits the previously described broad definition of domestic violence must be ordered into a domestic violence treatment program. The program must meet certain standards and be certified by a local board comprised of people appointed by the Chief Judge in each district pursuant to C.R.S. 18-6-802.

In addition to the obvious crime of assault in the domestic violence context, the legislature has also created the offense of violating a restraining order to help address domestic violence issues. C.R.S. 18-6-803.5 makes it a class 2 misdemeanor for a person to violate a restraining order that has been entered against that person. A restraining order may be entered against a person as a condition of bond in another case, as part of a divorce proceeding, or through a separate civil action. If the person who violates the restraining order has previously been convicted of the crime, the seriousness of the offense is increased to a class 1 misdemeanor.

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