DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PENALTIES UNDER COLORADO LAW Fact/Discussion Sheet

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1 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PENALTIES UNDER COLORADO LAW Fact/Discussion Sheet If you are convicted of a domestic violence charge, the penalties can be onerous. The following penalties assume a misdemeanor conviction. A plea bargain or conviction on a felony domestic violence charge typically carries these penalties in addition to the potential of prison time prison time. A deferred sentence or adjudication is a conviction until the deferred period of time is successfully completed. Typical Outcomes: 1. A typical sentence for a first time offender is 24 months probation either supervised or unsupervised depending on circumstances and jurisdiction and mandatory domestic violence treatment. It is not uncommon for useful community service to be part of the sentence. 2. Notice of your conviction will be posted on public, e.g. COcourts.com and police databases, e.g., Colorado Bureau of Investigation and these records will be publicly available for the rest of your. 3. You may ask the court to "seal" your records if you successfully complete a deferred judgment and sentence and your guilty plea is withdrawn and the case dismissed. The same is true if you have a deferred prosecution or are entered into diversion. In those cases, you never entered into a guilty plea and once the case is dismissed, the records can be sealed. 4. By law the mandatory protection order issued at the time of your arrest remains in place until the sentence is completed. If you appeal, the order remains in place until the disposition of the appeal, often at least two more years. However, if you plead guilty or no contest you surrender your right to appeal. While the judge may alter the terms of the protection order at time of sentencing, typically the judge will order you to: (a) Not harass, molest, intimidate, retaliate against, or tamper with any witness or victim. (b) You must remain out of your home or that of the victim or any place the victim is likely to be found including work or shopping. Usually, you must remain at least 100 yards from the victim at all times, no excuses. If you and your spouse/partner want to have contact, you must obtain court permission (other than through your attorney). (c) You will be restrained from communicating directly or indirectly with any alleged victim of the crime. That will almost certainly include your children except at stated places, time, and by proscribed methods. It is possible that you will only be able to visit your children under supervision. (d) Your conviction will also be used against you in any dissolution of marriage (divorce) proceedings and you may lose parenting rights concerning your children. As a convicted

2 domestic violence offender the law presumes that you cannot co-parent with your spouse. As a result, your spouse will likely receive sole decision making authority. (e) If drugs or alcohol were involved, you will likely be ordered not to possess or consume any alcoholic beverages or controlled substances until your sentence is completed. Mental health or substance abuse treatment may also be required at your expense. (f) You shall not possess or control a firearm or any other weapon (lifetime penalty if convicted, see Federal penalties below). (g) Any violation of the mandatory restraining order or other conditions of your probation will result in your arrest and incarceration. (h) Other orders the probation or the judge believes are appropriate. That may include electronic (GPS) monitoring of your location and polygraph (lie detector) examinations. Many alleged victims seek a civil protection orders under C.R.S et seq. in addition to the mandatory protection order from the criminal case. Once made permanent, a civil protection order can apply for life and cannot be modified for at least four (4) years. It is common for parties in domestic relations cases to file repeated and multiple charges to gain an advantage in the dissolution of marriage or custody case. 5. A jail sentence may be imposed. A jail sentence is almost always imposed for especially if repeated offenses. A repeated offense during your probation will result in revocation and the prosecutor need only show that a preponderance of the evidence shows you are guilty rather than the far more stringent beyond a reasonable doubt in the original case. As of July 1, 2000, a third domestic violence offense is an automatically a felony. 6. Domestic violence treatment is required in all domestic violence convictions including deferred judgments and sentences. Under C.R.S you need not be convicted of a crime involving domestic violence in order to be court ordered to complete a course of treatment for domestic violence. Typically, treatment includes a 36-week, one-size-fits-all course of domestic violence counseling at your expense by a state-approved treatment provider. Treatment costs will range from $20 per session if you are indigent to $100 per session. Additional treatment, e.g., alcohol, may also be required at additional cost. There is no evidence that the 36-week course of treatment previously mandated had any impact or effect on DV offenders. In 2010, the law changed into a three-tier program of treatment. Offenders are evaluated and placed in one of three levels of treatment for various lengths of time. The treatment level is subject to ongoing evaluations every two to three months. The new treatment program is supposed to provide an opportunity to learn, grow and change. The law does not consider the treatment as punishment. The level of DV treatment imposed is based on factors such as criminal history, drug or alcohol issues, mental health problems, use or threatened use of a weapon, concerns for public and victim safety, employment status, etc.

3 You will be required to undergo and pay for an evaluation that includes a risk assessment with a state-approved treatment provider. Once your initial level is determined, a treatment plan is developed. This plan will be reviewed every two to three months by a Multidisciplinary Treatment Team (MTT) and may be modified based on your progress. Some of the circumstances that can affect the length of treatment: group attendance or lack thereof; degree of willingness to learn (i.e., enthusiastically accept admit your culpability regardless of your actual guilt); participation in group; new criminal activity during treatment; following court orders and treatment plan; continuing your abusive actions and behavior; and demonstration of financial responsibility (paying for your reeducation, child support, etc.). Treatment completion is based on understanding and applying your treatment goals. It is no longer based on a set length of time. You must actively participate in treatment, learn and demonstrate new skills in your life such as accepting responsibility for your abusive behavior and understanding how it impacts others. Conditions of Probation The following probation conditions will vary depending on the offense charged, sentence and the judicial district. The following conditions are fairly typical and only terminate upon successful completion of probation. Violation of any one or more of these conditions can result in your probation or deferred judgment and sentence being revoked: 1. You shall not violate any local, state, or federal law. 2. You shall not harass, molest, intimidate, retaliate against or tamper with any victims of or any prosecution witnesses to the crime. 4. You shall maintain a permanent residence and shall report any change of address as directed by the probation officer. 5. You shall not leave the State of Colorado without written permission from the probation officer or the court. 6. You shall report to the probation officer at reasonable times, as directed by the court or the probation officer and permit the officer to visit you at home or elsewhere unannounced. 7. You shall answer all reasonable inquiries by the probation officer. 8. You shall report any law enforcement contacts to the probation officer immediately. 9. You may be required to notify third parties of your criminal record, as directed by the probation officer.

4 10. You shall maintain or seek suitable employment or faithfully pursue a course of study or vocational training and shall report any change in employment or educational status, as directed by the probation officer. 11. You shall support your dependents and meet your other family responsibilities, including any obligations for child support or spousal maintenance. 12. You shall not possess any firearm, explosive or other destructive device, or any other dangerous weapons. 13. You shall not use alcohol or use unlawfully any controlled substance or other dangerous drug or substance. 14. You shall submit to substance testing at the direction of the probation officer, and it will be at your expense. 15. You shall obtain counseling or treatment for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or a mental condition and shall remain in a specified residential facility if necessary for that purpose, as required by the court or the probation officer. You shall be responsible for the costs of the program. 16. You shall not transfer to another treatment provider without written permission from the court or probation officer and shall comply with all of the conditions of your domestic violence treatment. 17. You shall submit, at any time, to a search by your probation officer of your residence, automobile, person, or other items under your control and you must acknowledge your consent to such warrantless searches. 18. You will not enter into an agreement with local or federal law enforcement to act as a confidential informant while under probation supervision. 19. You shall comply with any other requirement so the probation officer in order to meet the conditions imposed by the court. Your probation will be revoked if you knowingly or unknowingly violate any of the terms and conditions specified above. Usually that will mean some time in jail for you. Federal Penalties 1. Firearms and Ammunition: You may not own, be in possession of, or in the vicinity of any firearm or ammunition 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9). Note that cartridges used in nail guns are ammunition so that you cannot work many construction jobs. Exploration for and exploitation of minerals, e.g., oil, gas, mining, will be excluded as well. You will also be barred from interstate transport of hazardous materials as well. And this summary of federally excluded activities is by no means exhaustive.

5 2. Security Clearance: You may not be able to obtain a security clearance and may well lose any current clearance. That may bar you from working on any government facility or military base in any position, e.g., construction or food contractor, where sensitive or classified material or equipment is present. 3. Government Employment: You may not qualify for many government jobs and may lose any current federal job. That is especially true if you are in a position that requires you to carry a weapon or handle or transport ammunition, explosives, or other hazardous materials, or that requires a security clearance. 4. Military: You may be discharged from the military or not allowed to reenlist. Note there are cases where a serviceman was not allowed to reenlist because his wife was convicted of domestic violence. 5. Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (PL , 1982): Allows state divorce courts to divide as marital property any pension earned during the concomitant marriage/service period, regardless of fault, need, or independent wealth. It also penalizes a military member for perpetrating domestic violence on his civilian spouse/dependents by revoking any retirement benefits from him and providing these benefits to his victims. 6. Deportation: If you are an immigrant, in the United States on a visa, or are an illegal alien, once convicted of domestic violence, you will be deported. Under a 1996 federal law, this applies whether you plead guilty, no contest, plea bargain, or accept a deferred judgment. You may also face charges of aggravated deportation and be required to serve up to ten years in a federal penitentiary before being deported. The law requiring deportation also applies to a wide range of crimes ranging from manslaughter to misdemeanor drunken driving, as well as domestic violence. Public Records and Associated Pains and Penalties 1. Public employment: You may be denied public service jobs, including teaching, nursing, social services, public office, etc. That is particularly true if you are with the police or fire department. 2. General employment: You may lose your current job. Whatever your profession, statistics show an 80% chance you will lose your job if convicted of domestic violence. That is specifically true if you are in a position that requires you to carry a weapon or handle or transport ammunition, explosives, or other hazardous materials, e.g. truck driver, mining, mineral exploration, construction. 3. Public records: Your conviction is a matter of public record (see COcourts.com and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation records) 4. Professional licenses: You may lose your professional licenses, certificates, or bonds, i.e., medical, legal, broker, teaching, securities, financial, commercial driver, pilot, etc.

6 5. Parenting Rights: As a convicted domestic violence offender, you will likely lose decision making responsibility for your children. Parenting time may also be curtailed. 6. Renting and leasing: Colorado law prohibits landlords from enforcing a lease or rental agreement when domestic violence is involved. 7. Loans: You may find it difficult to obtain a loan or mortgage with a domestic violence conviction. Banks and mortgage companies have apparently suffered too many defaults after domestic violence was alleged. So if you have been charged with domestic violence you should obtain a competent criminal defense attorney.

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