Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

What is Required to Charge Someone With Domestic Violence?

In the State of Colorado, if you’re placed under arrest and prosecuted on a domestic violence charge, it is a serious matter. You will need to discuss your case as quickly as possible with a Denver domestic violence defense attorney.

What is required to charge you with domestic violence, and who can do that? Can an alleged domestic violence victim have a domestic violence charge dropped? What steps should you take if you’re charged with domestic violence in or near Denver, and how will a lawyer help you?

Keep reading, and you’ll learn how Colorado’s prosecutors and courts handle cases where alleged victims decide not to testify. You’ll also find out what steps to take if you’re charged with a domestic violence crime here in the Denver area.

How Serious is Domestic Violence in Colorado?

According to Colorado Attorney General Philip J. Weiser, “Domestic violence incidents are on the rise” in this state. At least 63 people died in Colorado in 2020 as a result of domestic violence incidents, and the number of fatalities in these incidents rose to 91 in 2021.

Colorado does not tolerate domestic violence. Every domestic violence accusation is taken seriously, and criminal convictions for domestic violence are penalized harshly.

Who is Authorized to File a Domestic Violence Charge?

Deciding whether to file and prosecute a domestic violence charge, and precisely what that charge should be, is the exclusive responsibility of Colorado’s District Attorneys, as spelled out by the state’s laws and constitution.

Misdemeanor and felony claims are first investigated or filed by local police agencies. A District Attorney’s office reviews cases filed by the police and determines if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

An alleged domestic violence victim cannot “have” you charged. You can only be charged with domestic violence after police officers arrest you and after a prosecutor, upon examining the evidence, determines that a domestic violence charge should be filed against you.

Who is Authorized to Drop Domestic Violence Charges?

Similarly, an alleged domestic violence victim cannot have a domestic violence charge dropped or dismissed. Even when a purported victim no longer cooperates and refuses to testify, the charge probably won’t be dropped.

Only a prosecutor can drop a domestic violence charge. The alleged victim has no control over the case after a charge has been filed.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, do not presume that you will simply walk away if the victim chooses not to cooperate or testify. In fact, in some cases, the prosecutor may petition the court for a subpoena that will compel the purported victim to offer testimony.

Why Would a Victim Refuse to Testify?

Why would a domestic violence victim not testify? An alleged domestic violence victim may decline to cooperate with a prosecutor for reasons including but not limited to reconciliation with a defendant, personal embarrassment or guilt, or fear of a defendant’s future retaliation.

In or near the Denver area, if a District Attorney’s office moves ahead with a domestic violence prosecution, the defendant must be represented by a Denver domestic violence defense lawyer.

Can You Be Convicted Without the Victim’s Cooperation?

After a charge has been filed, if a purported domestic violence victim refuses to cooperate, a prosecutor may continue to move the case forward for reasons including but not limited to:

  1.  The state already has the purported victim’s testimony from a deposition or preliminary hearing.
  2.  The state has a recording of the 911 call made by the victim: If the victim called 911, the recording of the call may indicate that the defendant was assaulting, harassing, threatening, or targeting the victim at that time.
  3.  Other witnesses can verify what happened: If someone else saw the domestic violence incident and agrees to testify, the state may not need the alleged victim’s testimony. A Colorado prosecutor can also use medical records, video, and other evidence.

How Will a Defense Lawyer Help?

If you’re charged with domestic violence or any other crime in Colorado, you must reach out at once to a Denver domestic violence defense attorney who will:

  1.   protect your legal rights
  2.  explain how Colorado law applies to your own case
  3.  fight aggressively and effectively for the justice you need

After examining the details of a domestic violence charge, a Denver domestic violence defense lawyer will develop a strategy for your defense. Your lawyer may ask the prosecutor to drop the charge or may ask the court to reduce or dismiss the charge.

Will You Be Offered a Plea Deal?

If a domestic violence charge cannot be dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court, and you’re innocent, you have the right to a trial by jury. However, if the case against you is strong and a conviction is inevitable, your defense lawyer may negotiate a plea deal on your behalf.

In a typical plea deal, a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge, and in return, the defendant receives and serves a reduced sentence. Don’t try to negotiate on your own, and if you’re offered a plea deal, discuss the details with your attorney before you accept or reject that offer.

If your defense attorney takes your case to trial, that attorney will explain to a jury exactly what happened (and didn’t happen) and why you should be found not guilty. But how can you choose the right domestic violence defense lawyer?

Meet Attorney Daniel Murphy

If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence in the Denver area, speak immediately with an attorney. A domestic violence charge threatens your freedom and future, and a conviction establishes a criminal record that may be seen by neighbors, landlords, and potential employers.

An experienced Colorado defense lawyer represents your best chance to have a domestic violence charge reduced or dismissed. For more than twenty-five years, award-winning defense lawyer Daniel Murphy has successfully represented clients who face domestic violence charges.

Daniel Murphy will uncover the truth about the charge against you and bring your domestic violence case to its best possible conclusion. He provides a friendly, welcoming environment where clients may discuss their legal concerns and needs comfortably and privately.

Your first legal consultation with Daniel Murphy is provided without cost or obligation. If you are charged with domestic violence in or near Denver or anywhere in the state – currently or in the future – call the Denver law offices of attorney Daniel Murphy immediately at 303-996-8998.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.