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Is Domestic Violence a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

Is Domestic Violence a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

Is Domestic Violence a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

In domestic violence cases in Colorado, the state often pushes for serious punishments in an effort to deter these crimes. Individuals charged in such cases need experienced counsel to protect their futures. The question many alleged offenders have is: “Is domestic violence a felony or a misdemeanor in Colorado?” The answer depends on the circumstances of the incident in question.

Are you facing domestic violence charges? If so, Attorney Kevin Cahill is ready to fight for your future. Call the Law Office of Kevin Cahill at 720-445-9887 for a case review and the protection you deserve. 

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Colorado

In Colorado, there is no stand-alone domestic violence charge. Instead, domestic violence is used as an enhancement to other charges. The definition of domestic violence in the state covers threats of and acts of violence from one intimate partner to another.

Various charges may be enhanced with domestic violence charges, but a handful of criminal charges are more commonly associated with domestic violence than others. In every case, police officers are required to make an arrest when they have sufficient probable cause.

Is Domestic Violence a Felony or a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

In many cases in Colorado, domestic violence is coupled with a misdemeanor charge. However, it can be coupled with a felony charge as well. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and come with fewer criminal penalties. However, a misdemeanor domestic violence enhancement is nothing to sneeze at and may lead to significant criminal and collateral troubles, depending on the underlying charge to be enhanced.

Felony charges, on the other hand, are much more serious and result in time in prison and significant fines. Misdemeanors only come with jail time and fines. Often, jail time is avoided in misdemeanor cases, especially when a seasoned criminal defense attorney is defending the accused.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment occurs when one person confines or detains another against their will. It is a misdemeanor charge when the detainment lasts for less than 12 hours or there is no use of force or threats. If the victim is detained for more than 12 hours and force or threats are used, the charge will be a felony. If the parties involved are in a domestic relationship, the domestic violence enhancement will apply.


Menacing is a violent crime that occurs when a person uses threats or force to cause someone to fear imminent bodily injury or death. As you might imagine, menacing is common in domestic violence cases. One party seeking to control the other often attempts to keep that party in fear of bodily harm to get what they want.

Menacing in its base form as a criminal charge is a class 1 misdemeanor. However, it can be charged as a class 5 felony if a person utilizes a weapon, such as a firearm or a knife (or a simulated weapon), to carry out the crime.

Child Abuse

Child abuse domestic violence is a serious charge that leads to some of the most severe criminal penalties. Law enforcement and the courts go hard when children are harmed by domestic violence. Offenders can expect misdemeanor charges in the absence of serious injury. If the child is seriously injured, felony charges are appropriate.

Harassment and Assault

Harassment occurs when a person continually bothers, pesters, annoys, or alarms someone intentionally through repeated undesirable actions. It is typically a petty offense or a misdemeanor. Assault, on the other hand, can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor and occurs when a person unlawfully causes bodily injury to another person or threatens to do so with a weapon or violence.

The Law Office of Kevin Cahill stands strong between defendants and the state, protecting them at every stage of the criminal process.

Collateral Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction

You would be correct in assuming that domestic violence charges come with collateral consequences. A conviction with a domestic violence enhancement can cause significant troubles in every aspect of your life.


Most employers do thorough background checks on potential employees. Although some employers are willing to hire people with criminal records, many simply will not do so. Those who do hire convicted individuals might shy away from convictions related to violence, making a job search with a record an uphill battle.

As far as work on a professional level, such as legal and medical work, a domestic violence conviction can be the end of a person’s professional career in some cases. If the charge is a felony, there will most certainly be licensing issues in either the procurement or maintenance of the license.

Child Custody

A domestic violence conviction can have significant repercussions on a person’s child custody rights. Child custody decisions are made in the best interests of the child. With a domestic violence conviction in the mix, judges making these determinations will typically make rulings and judgments that disregard the custody and decision-making rights of the person with the conviction.

Keep in mind that domestic violence is just one of many factors judges consider in custody cases. It is quite possible for a person with a domestic violence conviction to still get parenting time and parenting duties in a court ruling. It all depends on the circumstances of the domestic violence and other factors.

Loss of Rights

If you receive a domestic violence conviction, you might also lose some important rights. Felony convictions in Colorado and across the United States result the in loss of various rights, including:

  • Right to bear firearms
  • Right to vote
  • Ability to hold public office.

Upon completion of your sentence, your right to vote is automatically restored, as is your right to hold public office. However, the right to bear arms is not restored automatically. Getting gun rights back is a complex, often difficult process that is not guaranteed to end in success.


Landlords and rental agencies perform background checks on prospective renters before handing over the keys. A domestic violence conviction could be automatic grounds for denial of housing, especially in the case of a felony. A conviction could also be a reason that a landlord refuses to renew a rental lease — but this only applies to recent convictions in most cases.

Speak With an Experienced Domestic Violence Charge Defense Attorney Today

A domestic violence conviction in Colorado can saddle you and your future with negative criminal and personal consequences. Fortunately, a charge is not the end of the case. It is only the beginning of the fight.

If you are in need of an effective defense against domestic violence charges, contact the Law Office of Kevin Cahill for a case review. Your future matters. We’re here to protect it. Call 720-445-9887 today.

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