The term “domestic violence” often conjures up images of bruises, scars, and broken bones from physical abuse. But domestic violence laws in Colorado go far beyond straightforward physical abuse to encompass a wide variety of non-physical types of violence. In our state, it is possible to be charged with domestic violence without even lifting a finger.
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To understand why certain types of non-physical behaviors are considered domestic violence, we must first understand how Colorado defines this type of offense. In our state, domestic violence is defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.” The law recognizes an “intimate relationship” as a relationship between present or former married or unmarried couples, two parents, roommates—even coworkers.
While our state’s definition of domestic violence certainly includes physical acts such as punching, kicking, and slapping, it also includes certain types of psychological and emotional abuse. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common examples of non-physical behaviors that could result in a domestic violence charge in Colorado.
Threats. State law may interpret threatened acts of violence between partners in an intimate relationship to be domestic violence. That means you could be charged with domestic violence for simply threatening to hit or harm someone. For instance, shouting “I am going to kill him!” in a moment of frustration could be interpreted as domestic violence.
Intimidation. You could be charged with domestic violence for using intimidation to make a current or former partner afraid. Intimidation could include smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets, displaying weapons, making aggressive gestures, or even giving threatening looks.
Emotional abuse. In certain circumstances, emotional abuse can be considered a form of domestic violence. Emotional abuse is a loose term that could encompass behaviors such as put downs, name calling, and humiliation.
Isolation. Controlling your partner’s actions, movements, social interactions, and outside involvement could be considered a type of isolation abuse.
Male privilege. If you are a male who treats a current or former girlfriend or wife as a servant, you could be accused of using male privilege to cause harm.
Economic abuse. Economic abuse is another serious type of abuse that could be construed as domestic violence in certain circumstances. Economic abuse could include taking a current or former partner’s money, preventing him or her from getting a job, or restricting them to a weekly allowance.
Coercion. You could find yourself in trouble for domestic abuse after threatening to commit suicide, threatening to report your current or former partner to welfare, or making him or her do illegal things.
Using children. Similarly, threatening to kidnap or kill a current or former partner’s children could also be seen as domestic violence.
Stalking. Colorado law defines stalking as repeatedly following, approaching, contacting, monitoring, or making any form of communication with a victim. You can be accused of the domestic violence crime of stalking for behaviors such as continually texting, calling, emailing, or following someone with whom you are in an intimate relationship.
Defending Yourself against a Domestic Violence Charge for Non-Physical Abuse
Colorado’s broad definition of domestic violence makes it easy for alleged victims to make false accusations of domestic violence against others. In some cases, partners and former partners use domestic violence accusations as a form of revenge, or to gain leverage in child custody proceedings.
If you have been accused of domestic violence for a non-physical act such as intimidation, threats, or stalking, you must proceed very carefully. Do not make the mistake of taking the charge lightly because it arose from a non-physical action. Colorado law does not look favorably on domestic violence offenders, and you are facing serious consequences to your freedom and reputation.
To ensure the best possible outcome for your domestic violence case, it’s crucial that you avoid contacting the victim in any way—and that includes calling, texting, messaging, and emailing him or her. Even if the victim attempts to initiate contact, do not give in to their advances.
Remember that your domestic violence charges will not go away just because you resolve your argument or the alleged victim says he or she forgives you. The only way you can fight a domestic violence charge is with the help of an aggressive Colorado domestic violence attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your options, and work with you to develop a strategy for defense. In the courtroom, your attorney will fight fiercely to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. With a skilled domestic violence defense lawyer behind you, you will be in the best position possible to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely.