blog Domestic Violence Why Domestic Violence Is a Sentencing Enhancement in Colorado

Why Domestic Violence Is a Sentencing Enhancement in Colorado

By Colorado Attorney-at-law on February 20, 2024

Colorado is experiencing an alarming surge in domestic violence. The latest report for 2022 exposes a troubling record of 94 domestic violence-related fatalities, surpassing the seven-year average by 1.5 times. The report, issued by the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, reveals that firearms are the primary cause of these fatalities, as reported by the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board (CDVFRB).

In Colorado, crimes of domestic violence may act as sentencing enhancement. Sentencing enhancements are imposed to deter abusive behavior and protect victims from the risk of further harm. The enhancements vary based on prior convictions, injuries to a domestic partner, or the use of weapons by the accused.

What Is a Sentencing Enhancement?

In legal matters, the term “enhancement” refers to the imposition of additional or increased penalties for a criminal offense based on specific circumstances or factors related to the commission of that offense. Sentencing enhancements are intended to reflect the severity of certain aspects of the crime and are imposed in addition to a standard sentence. The use and application of sentencing enhancements must be thoroughly evaluated to ensure they comply with constitutional principles and fairness in sentencing.

Domestic Violence Defined

In Colorado, domestic violence is defined as an act of violence or a threat of violence by a current or past intimate partner. An intimate partner is anyone engaged in a romantic relationship with another individual. Threats or acts of violence can include harm to people, property, or pets, as reported by the Legal Information Network of Colorado (LINC).

Examples of Domestic Violence

Typical cases of domestic violence range from physical and sexual abuse to emotional and financial abuse. Examples of charges subject to sentencing enhancement include the following:

  • Instances of using objects to cause harm
  • Isolation of the victim away from their support system as friends and family
  • Controlling access to financial resources to increase dependence on the abuser
  • Yelling or screaming to incite psychological distress
  • Disempowering the victim in a way that results in further control and dependence on the perpetrator, such as denying them access to education, work, and resources

An individual could be wrongfully accused of a domestic violence offense due to an effort to harm the reputation of a former partner or to gain full custody of any children of the relationship. Just being accused of such a crime, even when the accusation is false, requires the assistance of a Summit County domestic violence defense lawyer.

How To Defend Against Domestic Violence Sentencing Enhancement

Effectively defending against domestic violence sentencing enhancement demands the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can scrutinize the evidence, challenge admissibility, and question the legality of law enforcement actions.

In Colorado, domestic violence charges may be dismissed if the charges are dropped or if the prosecutor removes the “domestic violence” classification. Dismissal is discretionary and can occur if evidence does not support the classification or if it was misapplied, such as when an alleged victim does not meet the definition of an intimate partner.

At Whitaker & Penix, LLC, we will work with you to decide the best course of action and cultivate the strongest possible defense. You can rely on us to vigorously protect your rights, craft a custom-tailored defense, and work behind the scenes with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges at hand.

Have You Been Accused of Domestic Violence in Colorado?

If you are accused of a crime subject to a domestic violence sentencing enhancement in Colorado, exercise your right to remain silent and contact the Breckenridge domestic violence defense attorneys at Whitaker & Penix, LLC.

We understand the seriousness of these types of cases and know how a domestic violence conviction can derail a person’s life. That’s why we offer a FREE initial consultation to discuss your case and get started on your defense—call us at (970) 368-0602 today.

Posted in: Domestic Violence