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Four Surprising Facts About Domestic Violence Charges

Think you know everything important about domestic violence charges in Colorado? Think again. These four facts may take you off guard:

Surprise #1: Adding this simple label makes any other crime much worse.

Just adding a domestic violence label to another crime can significantly enhance that crime. For this reason, it's easy to get into very serious trouble for something that doesn't seem very serious.

Putting a dent into someone's car with your fist, for example, is typically considered simple property damage. You would likely face a fine and probation. However, if the car belongs to your ex-girlfriend, the offense can be labeled as both property damage and domestic violence, since you once had an intimate relationship with the victim. Now, you're in danger of jail time, the loss of your right to carry a gun and other sobering consequences.

Surprise #2: It doesn't have to involve any kind of physical touch.

You don't have to hit someone to be charged with this crime. In fact, you can be arrested for simply making someone feel afraid of you. If you shouted at your spouse and made him or her believe that he or she was in danger, it can count as domestic violence.

Surprise #3: It applies to more than just married couples.

While many cases of domestic violence occur between husbands and wives, it certainly isn't limited to spouses. You can be charged for threatening or harming your boyfriend, girlfriend, ex-partner, parent, former roommate, etc.

Surprise #4: Identifying the real aggressor isn't as simple as it sounds.

According to the Domestic Violence Benchbook created by the Colorado Bar Association, deciding who is the victim and who is the aggressor is "one of many challenges the criminal or civil justice system faces" in these cases.

In the majority of instances, the victims fight back in self-defense. This means that both parties may have scrapes, cuts, bruises or other wounds. Faced with uncertainty, the police don't always arrest the right person. For this reason, getting an experienced criminal defense lawyer involved is critical if you are charged with this crime.

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