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| Chapter 1 Charged With Domestic Violence? |
| Next Mandatory protection order |
General sequence of events
Don't take a plea bargain
Descent into hell often begins by dialing 911
Mandatory protection order
No contact means no contact
What you must do for self preservation
A timeline and tabulation of who's who in your case is essential
Get an attorney!
Discovery Get copies of the evidence against you
Do a background check
Lifetime effects of DV conviction or plea bargain
DA cannot dismiss DV charges
Deferred sentence or judgement is a honey trap
Private investigators and lie detectors
A jury trial is your best chance
Trial to a judge by a man is a long, slow way of pleading guilty
Punish the innocent, free the guilty
If you are married or have children
Divorce, DV, and children
Child protective services (CPS) will often put the kids in a foster home
If she did it once she'll often do it again
Other effects of a DV conviction or plea bargain
If you are retired military or currently in the Armed Forces consider these factors
Possession of a weapon or ammunition is a Federal felony
You will be subjected to surveillance and probably lose your job
Loss of security clearance
Credit checks, loans, and renting
You will be deported if you are an immigrant
Secondary physical and mental health problems are almost certain
The following describes what will, or may have already happened to you if someone (and it may not be your intimate partner) reports you for domestic violence. However, not every case will follow this exact sequence. But in all domestic violence cases you are presumed guilty until you can prove your innocence and due process is nonexistent.
It is strongly recommended that you take an hour to watch the video Don't Talk To Police! at your first opportunity, preferably before you get arrested. Note that many men are innocent until they prove themselves guilty by committing diarrhea of the mouth with police and prosecutors as the video illustrates.
Under the broad category of domestic violence the Colorado Bureau of Investigation tracks homicides, forcible sex offenses, non-force sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation (non-force), and kidnapping. However, in Colorado domestic violence is an add-on charge and can, and has been applied to every criminal case you can imagine and then some. Only rarely does a charge of "domestic violence" imply there was actual interpersonal violence between intimate partners under current laws. It is simply a propaganda label convenient for neo-Marxist radical feminists (redfems) whose objective is to destroy families and marriage and return society to a primitive matriarchy.
In prosecuting domestic violence cases the district attorneys are out to win. Whether you are guilty or innocent is of no consequence to them. They most definitely do not want to be perceived as soft on domestic violence defendants. Further, domestic violence is now being called the new Jim Crow. If you are black you are much more likely to be arrested, convicted, and spend a longer time in jail on domestic violence charges.
Prosecutors are absolutely dependent on a very high percentage of defendants accepting a plea bargain and often extreme pressure, even torture, will be used to try and force defendants into accepting a plea. However, unless you are absolutely, unquestionably guilty a plea bargain is the worst thing you can do. As described in detail below, you have a great deal to lose by accepting any plea bargain, and in 2002-2004 the Colorado legislature imposed a mandatory minimum of six months in jail for any assault that involves any injury.
Because the court dockets are so crowded with petty cases it is quite likely that charges against you will eventually be dismissed if you plead not guilty. That odds of a dismissal increase dramatically if you retain a competent criminal defense attorney. Even if you are eventually required to go before a jury the odds of your being acquitted are very high as most jurors hate these "he said/she said" cases. And rarely can the elements of mens rea and actus reus, essential to conviction for a crime, be established beyond a reasonable doubt in these cases.
Mens rea "guilty mind" generally requires the prosecution to prove the defendant acted purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, willfully, and intentionally. That is of particular importance in cases where the defendant is mentally impaired, e.g., post traumatize stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), or reacts instinctively without conscious intent, e.g., flashbacks with PTSD or a startle response due to combat stress.
Actus reus requires the prosecution to prove the defendant voluntarily committed a criminal act. The model penal code specifically describes what are considered involuntary acts and thus not criminal: (1) a reflex or convulsion; (2) a bodily movement during unconsciousness or sleep; (3) conduct during hypnosis or resulting from hypnotic suggestion; (4) a bodily movement that otherwise is not a product of the effort or the determination of the actor, either conscious or habitual.
Experience has shown that any defendant in a criminal domestic violence case who is willing to defend their innocence and insists on a jury trial has something like a 90-95% chance of having their case dismissed, typically the day before or the morning of trial in order to maximize the stress and expense of defendants. In cases I am familiar with that have gone to a jury trial with a competent criminal defense attorney, the defendant typically has less than a 1% chance of being convicted. Of course in between 20% and 30% of the domestic violence cases brought to court the defendant is, in fact, guilty and in such cases a plea bargain is usually in the defendants best interest. But no defendant should accept a plea bargain without first consulting with a competent criminal defense attorney.
Note that as of 2004 assault in the third degree, the most common charges in domestic violence cases, is a class 1 misdemeanor and is an extraordinary risk crime (that is subject to the modified sentencing range specified in C.R.S. § 18-1.3-501 (3) and if any injury is involved the sentence involves a mandatory minimum of six months in jail.
In many cases where an abusive female has been arrested for domestic violence she then goes to a shelter or victim's advocate and obtains a civil restraining order against him that forces him out of his own home. The shelter or advocate group will also frequently provide her legal assistance at taxpayer expense. Males, of course, have to pay for their own legal defense.
1. A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, children, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. As Glenn Sacks puts it:
"It doesn't matter that you' re innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you've confessed your sins even if you've none to confess. And you' re not cured until they say you' re cured even if you were never sick to begin with."
2. Once made, a 911 call cannot be cancelled. The police must respond. If the phone is hung up after dialing, the emergency response team will call back. If no answer, or foul play is suspected, and it almost always is, the police will respond to investigate. In one case reported to the Equal Justice Foundation a woman hemorrhaging as a result of a tubal pregnancy was treated by police as domestic violence and the woman nearly died while police insisted on investigating the "violence."
In about half the domestic disturbance cases the 911 call is made by someone other than the couple. Neighbors, children (who are taught in school to call 911 if Mom and Dad are arguing), or a passer by may call if they hear loud noises, arguing, screaming, loud sex, etc. from a home or apartment. You can be arrested for "domestic violence" for having a pillow fight with your wife or watching TV with the sound turned up. If this happens to you, you may want to try filing a Motion to Dismiss (Word) based on your Constitutional rights to privacy.
3. Interfering with a person making a 911 call, or any call, is a Class 1 misdemeanor (Table 98) under C.R.S. § 18-9-306.5.
4. If you call for an ambulance for any reason the police will likely arrive first and investigate with a presumption of family violence. They will also use that presumption as an excuse to search your home without a warrant.
5. Time after time we hear from men who called the police because their wife or lover was assaulting them or the children and, when the police arrived, he was the one arrested under Colorado's mandatory arrest law .
If you are male we do not recommend you call the police about domestic violence. The draconian police response has also made large numbers of women afraid to call 911 as well (Table 4).
If possible, leave and go to a friend's house, check into a motel, or sleep in the car or park if you have to. Don't assume you are safe however, as we also have many, many reports of women calling the police after the man leaves and accusing him though the violence was all hers.
There are suggestions on how to deal with female violence in the Defensive Male Actions Under the Current Laws section.
6. The police will enter your home night or day without a warrant and search for evidence of violence. We have repeatedly heard reports that women cut up clothes, scratched or bruised themselves, or broken things in the house, and then blamed their male partner. Deliberate self injury is five times as common as criminal domestic violence but such false allegations and perjury are never prosecuted.
7. An arrest must be made if domestic violence is alleged by anyone calling 911, or is inferred (probable cause) by the police or dispatcher C.R.S. § 18-6-803.6 whether or not the caller is involved in the alleged incident. No warrant for the arrest is required even if it is made days later by officers who never saw or talked to the woman making the accusation.
If there is the slightest evidence of violence, a loud argument, interfering with a telephone call, one partner blocking the exit of the other, or insulting or abrasive language, one or both of the parties will be arrested although at least 75% of the time only the male is taken into custody. Police training generally discourages dual arrests and primary aggressor statutes are used to train and justify arrest of the male almost without regard to the circumstances.
If children are present, they may be placed in foster care or left in the care of the female, even when the male has been defending the children against the woman or has legal custody of them. If the children are taken to foster care it may be weeks, months, or never before the parents see their children again.
8. You cannot be released, i.e., a summons issued in lieu of arrest, at the scene of the alleged crime C.R.S. § 16-3-105 when domestic violence is involved.
9. A woman may obtain the same results as dialing 911 by going to a hospital, a doctor, or going to the police station. If one of the parties should seek medical treatment after a dispute then doctors and hospitals are required C.R.S. § 12-36-135 to report the case to the police. However, if the victim is male commonly no official report will be made.
Though we continually encounter cases where women inflict injuries on themselves, generally there is no attempt made to determine whether a woman's injuries might be deliberately self inflicted or due to a cause other than domestic violence (see When It Is Not Domestic Violence for examples).
Once reported to medical authorities, the other party in the dispute will be arrested regardless of any physical evidence. The statements of the party seeking medical aid will not be questioned before the trial. Medical evidence and prior history of the accuser, e.g., alcoholism, mental instability, infidelity, prostitution, or pre-existing medical problems of the "victim" will almost certainly be suppressed by the prosecution during trial. From first to last the attitude will be: You are male, you are guilty! And if you are black you are doubly guilty. Domestic violence laws are referred to as the new Jim Crow in black communities.
10. Once arrested, you will be held in jail for an indefinite period usually without an opportunity to post bail before appearing before a magistrate. Since domestic disputes often occur on a Friday evening, this commonly means a weekend in jail and almost always at least a night. Many spend four or five days in jail without an opportunity to post bond, and some spend a month or more.
In many counties you will be required to pay room and board for the time you spend in jail whether you are convicted or not.
11. We have also received numerous reports from men who were told if they refused to accept a plea bargain they would be held in jail until their trial, three to six months away. That seems to be a particularly popular scare tactic with active-duty military who fear becoming AWOL.
What they aren't told is that the military will immediately discharge them if they do plead guilty and accept the plea bargain.
12. It is a very common tactic for prosecutors to tack on additional charges against you after your arrest and before you are arraigned. A district attorney will try very hard to get felony charges added as this gives them a much stronger position when they try to get you to accept a plea bargain. We repeatedly hear that men are held indefinitely without bond while the prosecutor "completes her investigation."
Tacking on additional charges against you also increases the bail you must post to get out of jail. Despite the Eighth Amendment we now commonly hear of bail being set in amounts of $150,000 to $250,000, with a high of $1,000,000, in misdemeanor domestic violence cases.
1. In order to be released from jail you will be issued a mandatory protection order C.R.S. § 18-1-1001 that you must sign and acknowledge . The protection order will include C.R.S. § 18-1-1001 (3):
(a) An order to vacate or stay away from the home of the victim and to stay away from any other location where the victim is likely to be found. Usually this means you can't go back to your own home even if she doesn't live there or have any claim to be on the property;
(b) An order to refrain from contact or direct or indirect communication with the victim, i.e., you can't contact your or her children, any of her or your friends to obtain witnesses on your behalf. Nor can any of your relatives or friends call her even if they do it without your knowledge or consent;
(c) An order prohibiting possession or control of firearms or other weapons, and that becomes a Federal felony under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8 and 9) ;
(d) An order prohibiting possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances; and
(e) Any other order the court deems appropriate to protect the safety of the alleged victim. For example, as a condition of your release on bail you may be required to wear an electronic, or GPS, tracking bracelet until your trial.
No determination of your guilt is required before imposing such punishments.
2. The mandatory protection order only works one way. You are restrained from contacting her, the children, her friends, and relations. However, she may call and harass and stalk you in any manner she fancies and no action will be taken against her. The Defensive Male Actions Under the Current Laws should provide you ideas on how to record her actions and defend yourself against the spurious charges she will almost certainly bring against you.
When she does call you must not talk with her, and it is essential that you record her calls for your defense. Photographic evidence of her stalking is necessary as well. If she comes to your house you cannot let her enter as you are then violating the protection order, not her. And if you see her accidentally in public, leave the area immediately, and hope she hasn't seen you. But the saying goes that cell phones were invented for women to report protection order violations.
1. If you are a teacher or work for a public or charter school in Colorado under C.R.S. § 22-2-119(4)(b) the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is required to notify the Department of Education of your arrest or conviction within ten (10) days.
2. The Colorado Department of Education is then required to notify the school district where you are employed of your criminal background, i.e., your arrest.
However, in only about 25% of the cases odes the school district learn of the outcome of the case, i.e., even though the case against you might be dismissed or you were acquitted, you are still officially "guilty."
1. No contact means "no contact," either directly or indirectly . All of the following examples have resulted in men being arrested, often repeatedly. We have heard of men being arrested on trumped-up protection order violations as frequently as twelve times within a month.
Accidental contact, or her seeing you in a grocery store or mall can and will get you arrested if she reports it. And what else is her cell phone for?
You cannot contact her through a third-party or talk to or write any of "her" friends. They may have been "your" friends before but after the protection order is issued any female friends are hers. And if an acquaintance does mention to her that "Joe said..." that is indirect contact and will get you arrested as well.
If one of your relatives, e.g., the kid's paternal grandmother, calls her or the grandkids that is indirect contact.
If your kids call you that is a violation of the protection order.
If you accidentally hit the autodialer on your cell phone and it dials your home number, that is a violation and you can go to jail. Men have had their cell phones in their pocket and it has dialed home. Jail him!
Your computer may get infected with a virus or a worm and send her (and everyone else you've ever sent electronic mail to) an email. That has been construed as a violation of the protection order.
Even if you run into her in court you can be held in violation of the protection order.
In one case the Eagle County district attorney charged a man with violating the protection order because the woman who had charged him with domestic violence came to visit him while he was locked up.
Nor is the prosecutor required to give you a trial and (s)he need only show a preponderance of evidence is against you at any hearing. The hearing will likely not occur until you've spent a week or so in jail. And since you have "violated" the protection order, the prosecutor will argue you are obviously too dangerous to be freed on bail before the contempt hearing, where the outcome is usually predetermined.
2. If, at any time, you violate any of the terms of the protection order, however inadvertently, you will be put in jail, typically for a minimum of 3 months for the first offense. The only constraint on this insane approach seems to be that the jails are already overcrowded with such cases.
So make absolutely sure you keep clear of her. If you are living in the same town, particularly in the small towns of the western slope, or the eastern plains, you are in extreme danger of this kind of harassment from her, and it is reported to be happening ever more frequently. If there are multiple offenses against the protection order the law requires that the sentences be served consecutively.
1. A timeline is not a narrative! It is simply a note including date, time (if important), a brief (two or three sentences at most) description of the event, and names of individuals involved. An example and instructions are provided here.
Do not include narratives, transcripts, recordings, pictures, documents, etc., relating to your case in your timeline. Put such information in a separate looseleaf binder with labeled tabs so that it can be quickly referenced. In your timeline refer to these items as Attachment A, B, etc.
2. If you find yourself in this situation keep accurate records and document every interaction with her or her attorney. However, most people in these situations develop PTSD and that condition makes it almost impossible for them to develop a timeline on their own. Our suggestion is to get help from a relative or good friend to put together the events. Even notes with date and time and brief summary of event on a 3x5 card will be a big help in your defense and talking about the problems with a friend or relative will help the PTSD. It is virtually impossible for another individual, e.g., an attorney, to understand your situation without a timeline of events and tabulation of who's who in your case.
3. A tabulation of who's who in your case must include contact information for every individual involved in your case and a brief note about what role they play. That includes judges, prosecutors, case workers, witnesses, "victim," children, etc. If an attorney or paralegal have to assemble this information it will typically cost you several thousand dollars in fees and they are likely to overlook someone critical to your case.
4. Don't trust anything she says or does to you or anyone you know. The no contact order applies only to you and you are the one who will be punished if she calls you up or comes to see you. If she is calling you, get a tape recorder for your phone, and make notes of when and why she called in your timeline. Politely refuse to talk to her when she calls. Let the answering machine take all calls until you've identified the caller. Don't call her back for any reason. Don't threaten or argue with her if she calls. Remember, she is probably recording anything you say and it will be used against you. The same goes for your children if they are, and they usually are, included on the restraining order.
5. Even if the protection order permits it, never see or talk to her without a witness present, preferably your attorney. Even with your attorney present it is a good idea to keep a video or audio tape recording of all contact with her, her attorney, or any authorities involved. See the section on surveillance methods for further information on recording these interactions.
6. Many men and women are turning to surveillance methods in order to obtain evidence against their accuser if the harassment continues after charges are filed.
7. Signed and notarized affidavits from witnesses may be of use in a later trial. The affidavit should be taken as soon after the event as possible to demonstrate the matter is still fresh in the witness' mind. Be sure to keep an original signed copy for yourself, give one to your defense attorney, and be sure your attorney gives a copy to the prosecutor to complete discovery requirements. If the prosecutor doesn't get a copy, the affidavit may be barred from trial. If you mail it, use certified mail and get a return receipt so that they can't claim it was "lost."
8. Roughly half of the married men who have contacted the Equal Justice Foundation for help were charged with domestic violence after they found evidence their wives were having an affair. If you are married and suspect infidelity, but have not yet been charged, you should begin collecting evidence for your defense using one or more of the surveillance methods outlined. Be sure you keep that evidence somewhere you can get to it after she files charges and the mandatory protection order is imposed. Hiring a private detective may also be advisable if time and circumstances permit.
If you have children, you must get DNA paternity testing done at the earliest possible time, preferably when her child is born. Fully 30%, nearly one out of three such tests show the husband, or the man the woman claimed, is not the father of her children. Getting such testing done after she charges you with DV will be extremely difficult and often DV charges are made to forestall or prevent DNA paternity testing.
9. Girlfriends or ex-wives often begin stalking their male partners and then claiming the reverse. Again, the surveillance methods presented may help you collect evidence for your defense.
It has become increasingly common for a woman to get a protection order on a man and then stalk him until she has some pretext to call the police and have him arrested for violating the protection order.
1. If ever in your life you need a lawyer, now is the time. If you have not been able to obtain an attorney while in jail, and the court does not, or will not, assign you a public defender, then you should make every effort to obtain your own counsel.
Current (2012) attorney fees are about $7,000 to $15,000 for defending a domestic violence charge through trial. If you plead guilty, or no contest, court costs and mandatory therapy for an indefinite period will cost you in excess of $4,000. The difference in cost is small when compared with the lifetime penalties incurred.
2. We find a large percentage of bottom-feeding attorneys who take a retainer, typically $2,500, and then enter a plea bargain often without consulting with their client. This problem is particularly acute with military men. Remember, 99 out of 100 attorneys give the other one a bad name. Thus, you are much more likely to encounter an incompetent, corrupt, arrogant ass than an honest, competent attorney.
Good criminal defense attorneys seldom lose a DV case in a jury trial. Note that many men are innocent until they prove themselves guilty by committing diarrhea of the mouth with police and prosecutors as the video illustrates. Unless you are blatantly guilty or run off at the mouth, with a good criminal defense attorney, and you demand a jury trial, there is a better than 99% chance the charges against you will be dismissed or you will be acquitted at trial.
Before you pay any attorney a retainer ask them if they routinely take DV cases to a jury trial, what percentage of DV cases do they take to trial, and how many have they won. Also, it is wise to make it absolutely clear to your attorney that you will not accept a plea bargain. And despite what prosecutors may tell you (they lie), a plea bargain, no contest, nolo contendre, a deferred sentence, diversion, or any other creative lie they tell you, is a conviction, plain and simple, and will appear on your record for life.
Unless you are unequivocally guilty, a plea bargain is not in your best interest, and certainly not at your arraignment. Always plead Not Guilty and demand a jury trial. In the unlikely event a plea bargain does prove to be your best option, you can enter a plea at any time up to and including during the trial.
3. It is strongly recommended that you take an hour to watch the video Don't Talk To Police! at your first opportunity, preferably before you get arrested.
4. We are finding that most men (~80%) convicted of domestic violence, who accept a plea bargain, or a deferred sentence, end up losing their jobs and professional licenses. Domestic violence can reasonably be regarded as a crime of moral turpitude and, as such, a conviction is grounds to deny or revoke a professional license, e.g., teaching credential, law license, medical license, or any other professional license. With a DV conviction you may also encounter difficulty crossing an international border and may well be denied entry.
A conviction on a charge of domestic violence will certainly mean loss of your job if you work in a profession that requires use of firearms, explosives, or other dangerous agents, e.g., police, fire, military, construction that involves blasting, truck drivers who haul explosives or hazardous materials (hazmat), etc.
The loss of your Second Amendment rights is for life if you are convicted.
A domestic violence conviction will permanently deny you a security clearance under DoD Directive 5220.6 (PDF) and any current clearance will be revoked. You will also be unable to obtain a financial bond, jobs in a casino, or a securities license.
You probably cannot hold any government job, including teaching.
If you are not a United States citizen you will be deported.
Medical doctors and others who require a professional license, e.g., stockbrokers, with domestic violence convictions often find they cannot continue working in their field.
Custody of any children you may have will almost certainly pass to the mother and she will be awarded child support and possibly maintenance (alimony). The convicted father will most likely only be able to see his children during supervised visitation periods for at least one to two years. He will also pay from $20 to $80 per hour of supervised visitation.
There are also many other hidden penalties to a domestic violence conviction that the prosecutor won't tell you about. You may never be eligible for welfare, food stamps, or public housing, be able to obtain a student loan, hold public office or a government job, get a hunting license, hold a commercial driving license particularly for hauling explosives or hazardous materials, voting rights may be lost, and you may lose any military pension.
If you have children, custody will be given to her and you will likely only see your children, if ever again, under supervised visitation, that you pay for, for at least one to two years.
The penalties make the cost of an attorney look cheap.
5. You will eventually be given a hearing before a magistrate or judge. If(?) you have been released on bail before the hearing, you must show up in court or you will lose all future rights. It is strongly recommended that you plead innocent and demand a jury trial at the hearing. But the prosecutor will do everything possible, commonly including lies and intimidation, to get you to plead guilty. Very commonly the prosecutor will levy additional criminal charges against you, often far beyond what the police report states.
A guilty or no contest plea at this time, or failure to appear, is a lifetime sentence in Colorado regardless of what lies the prosecutor may tell you about a deferred sentence, deferred prosecution, deferred judgement, or other nonsense they may try to con you with.
Neither the court nor the district attorney will dismiss the case regardless of how ridiculous the charges are against you under the no drop provisions of Colorado law.
If you were arrested based on hearsay because a neighbor or stranger called the cops, and your wife or girlfriend doesn't want to prosecute, she may want to try filing a Motion to Dismiss (Word) . Otherwise she cannot get the charges against you dropped as it is the State vs. you, although the Crawford v. Washington decision in March of 2004 may give the woman some additional options. See the article by David Feige on domestic silence for additional information. But such actions must be taken voluntarily by her and, remember, you can only communicate with her if the mandatory protection order permits it. And obviously it is better for an attorney to file any such motion.
Do not try and make any statement at the hearing other than "Not guilty." Don't talk to the police or the prosecutor as you can only hurt your case by doing so. Any attempt at explaining the circumstances of the incident can and will be used against you.
You are presumed to be guilty until you can prove your innocence.
6. If you plead guilty or nolo contendre (no contest) at any time you will lose all rights of appeal. Also, if you and your accuser have children, you will never be able to obtain normal visitation rights or acquire custody in family court under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
7. The court may require a bond or release you on your own recognizance. If you have previously posted a bond and you are released on your own recognizance you may ask to have the bond lifted.
8. With luck and a competent criminal defense attorney you may be able to have some terms of the automatic protection order against you lifted or modified at the hearing, e.g., the no contact order may be lifted so that you can go home again, depending on the circumstances.
9. The lifetime cost of pleading guilty is infinite. And, unless your guilt is clear, any defense attorney who suggests you accept a plea bargain or deferred judgement should be dismissed instantly for cause. Corrupt defense lawyers love plea bargains or deferred judgements because they get the same fees but don't have to do the labor of going to trial.
1. Within one to two weeks after your arrest or arraignment the district attorney is required to assemble the evidence against you and make it available for a small fee. However, you must go to the district attorney's office and make a formal request and pay any costs. It may take an additional two to four weeks for the district attorney to complete and compile the documents, recordings, etc. for you so do not put this off until the day before trial.
2. Never ever accept a plea bargain until you have seen the evidence against you after discovery is complete. And if you are going to challenge the lies, misrepresentations, distortions, and outright fabrications being used as evidence against you, you must prepare your defense before trial. You, or your attorney will probably want to ask that some of "evidence" they are using against you be ruled inadmissible. All of that, of course, takes time so begin the discovery process as soon as possible after your arrest. In many cases the evidence against you may be so weak or blatantly false that you or your attorney can get the case dismissed at your arraignment, but don't bet on that.
3. When requesting discovery from the district attorney present as an inclusive a list as possible, and always add a note to effect that you want any such other evidence as it becomes available.
4. You will need to get copies of at least the following from the district attorney: a copy of the recorded 911 call, the police report, any witness statements including the "victims." Copies of all emails and other correspondence are essential. Credit card, hotel, or gas station receipts are often useful in establishing time, dates, and locations of events as well as copies of surveillance or other videos. Clear copies of any and all photographs particularly if pictures were taken of scratches, bites, bruises, or other injuries on either or both parties. Also any evidence from analyses the prosecutor may make of such things as blood, DNA, soil, clothing, etc. Ofttimes cell phone records provide tracking information when location at a given time is an issue.
5. Discovery must include a list of witnesses the district attorney intends to introduce at trial against you. Usually they will list more witnesses than are actually called and you may want to challenge the relevance or expertise of the prosecutor's witnesses, which is particularly true if the DA intends to introduce an "expert" on domestic violence.
6. Note that you or your attorney must reciprocate and provide the district attorney with a list of any witnesses you intend to call in your defense at trial.
7. The prosecutor, you, or both may conduct an investigation of the facts. Be sure to get copies of any such reports the DA intends to produce as evidence at trial. Conversely, be certain to provide the prosecutor copies of any such reports you intend to introduce as evidence in your defense. Note that in DV cases the mandatory restraining order prevents you from having any direct contact with the "victim" or indirectly through any third party. That generally prevents you from making any investigation yourself so be certain to have your attorney do it or hire a private investigator.
8. Be sure and keep any and all emails, letters, etc., the "victim" may send you. Also record and keep a log of any telephone calls made to you, any relatives, or friends by the "victim."
9. Signed and notarized affidavits from witnesses may be of use in the trial or beforehand. Affidavits should be taken as soon after the event as possible to demonstrate the matter is still fresh in the witness' mind. Be sure to keep an original signed copy for yourself, give one to your defense attorney, and be sure your attorney gives a copy to the prosecutor to complete discovery requirements. If the prosecutor doesn't get a copy, the affidavit may be barred from trial. If you mail the copy use certified mail and get a return receipt so that the DA can't claim it was "lost."
10. All evidence should be referenced in your timeline and kept and indexed in a separate looseleaf or folder where it can be easily found. If you have an attorney you will need to make an additional copy for them.
11. Check and be certain that you or your attorney have provided copies of all evidence, documents, receipts, etc. to the district attorney or you may not be able to get them introduced during the trial.
12. The district attorney may obtain additional evidence after fulfilling your initial discovery request. So be certain to check back about a month before trial to be certain that you have been provided any and all evidence that will be used against you.
1. If you have been charged with domestic violence, or a protection order has been filed against you, it is quite likely that a background check of your accuser may turn up previous false allegations, convictions, or lawsuits that might be used in your defense. Your accuser may also have been abusive in a previous relationship and finding that person may provide a valuable witness for you.
2. You can do some elementary checks on your accuser using such facilities as COcourts.com or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Background Check and that is certainly advised.
3. However, in many cases it will definitely pay you to hire a competent private investigator (PI) to do a thorough background check on employment, addresses, possible medical and mental health conditions, previous marriages and relationships, aliases or other names used, income, as well as possible criminal history in other states or countries, and a host of other information that may well be useful in your defense.
4. Your attorney may have an established relationship with a PI that you are comfortable working with. However, many times you may want a broader investigation requiring a national firm like Blue Moon Investigations, you simply don't like the PI your attorney recommends, or your attorney has no recommendation. In such cases you may want to consider one of the listed firms who have worked with the Equal Justice Foundation or its members in the past.
5. While you are at it, run the same background check on yourself. One, your attorney is going to need to know about any problems or convictions in your past. Two, you may find a number of errors in your records, particularly if you have a common name (you will want to get those errors corrected before trial). Three, you can bet the prosecution or your accuser will be running a background check on you and you definitely want to know what they may find that could look incriminating.
1. The District Attorney cannot dismiss a domestic violence case or plea bargain the charges against you to anything that does not include a domestic violence C.R.S. § 18-6-801 (3) rider. Realistically, the only way you can clear your record of a domestic violence charge is to go through a jury trial. Bear in mind that the prosecutor will attempt to bluff you about going to trial, and your defense attorney may recommend a plea bargain because he or she then gets paid but doesn't have to go to the time and effort of preparing for trial.
If you wisely call the prosecutor's bluff and insist on going to a jury trial we have heard innumerable stories from men where the district attorney asks the judge to dismiss the case the day before or the morning the trial is to begin. Be aware that is a standard practice so don't expect an early dismissal of your case.
2. If you plead guilty, nolo contendre (no contest), or are convicted, the protection order you signed may be made permanent, a lifetime sentence. If you have a public defender, be aware that the law, C.R.S. § 18-6-801(3), forbids any plea bargain that does not involve pleading guilty to a domestic-violence related charge.
Insist on a jury trial rather than accepting a plea bargain. Only a jury is likely to listen to your side of the story. A plea bargain carries the same lifetime sentence that simply pleading guilty to the original charge would. Anything you tell the police or prosecutor trying to explain your side of the story can and will be used against you. Don't talk to the police or prosecutor.
The punishment is will include domestic violence treatment that you will have to pay for. Even if you are found guilty at trial the punishment will be the same as if you pled guilty.
3. You will be placed on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) C.R.S. § 18-6-803.7 and the FBI's National Instant Check System for life based solely on the arrest record unless you can prove yourself innocent and then take extraordinary and typically expensive steps to have your name removed. Under Federal law you will never again be able to own, possess, or control a weapon or any dangerous instrument such as explosives 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) unless you are able to prove your innocence. However, that will not be explained to you by the judge or prosecutor.
1. If you are represented by counsel, and sometimes without, the prosecutor may offer a plea bargain involving a deferred judgement, deferred sentence, or any other lying euphemism the prosecutor wants to call your guilty plea. Regardless of what it the DA and judge call it, you are pleading guilty to the crime and it will never disappear from your record no matter what they tell you. Remember, a prosecutor can legally lie, and (s)he will.
In this arrangement the judge typically sentences you to two years probation, at least 36-weeks DV counseling (although anger management and drug or alcohol abuse classes may be imposed as well), a fine, and court costs in return for a guilty plea. Typically the mandatory protection order will also be dropped and you can go back home immediately unless your accuser objects. The DA and judge will promise you that the records will be "sealed" if you successfully complete your probation or sentence. They lie!
A deferred sentence or judgement often sounds like a real good deal to many men at the time. That is particularly true if the prosecutor has piled charge after charge on to the original simple misdemeanor assault the police arrested you for and it looks like you're facing 12 years in prison for a Class 3 felony if you go to trial. Or at least that's what the assistant DA is telling you after you've spent one or more sleepless nights in jail. But the long term impacts will not be explained to you, nor the fact that the prosecutor probably has little hope of proving any of the charges against you to a jury.
2. First, a deferred sentence is often only offered in DV cases where the defendant is represented by an attorney. So you may have had to already pay the attorney's retainer. Also, at the end of the sentence you will likely be required to pay the attorney another $1,000 or so to get the records "sealed," a euphemism for making your record very slightly harder for someone to find.
3. For at least two years your conviction will be a matter of public record on COcourts.com and in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation database. However, don't count on your record disappearing off these databases as most remain. Further, any competent private investigator or government agent will have full access to the record showing your conviction for the rest of your life.
4. If you need a new job, a security clearance, a financial bond, own or are around guns or explosives, want to enlist or reenlist in the military, serve with police or fire departments, renew or get a professional license, haul hazardous materials, or utilize many other privileges granted a free man they will be denied you for life.
5. If, at the end of the two years, you have met all the conditions of your probation you may file a motion to seal your record, typically through your attorney at the cost of another $1,000.
However, sealing the records doesn't hide them from government view. So you still won't be able to get a security clearance, serve in the military, work for a police or fire department, own or be in possession of a gun or ammunition, etc.
Any competent private investigator can find your record easily so you probably can't get or renew any professional license. Even if your records are "sealed" you will find yourself having problems getting a job, a mortgage, a financial bond, or any other position or situation where it is likely someone will run a background check on you.
In essence, remedies such as expungement or sealing, and even a pardon, are rendered meaningless due to an omnipresent commercial data-harvesting industry. Effectively this renders any notion of rehabilitation meaningless, hindering for life all with a criminal record in terms of employment, housing, and professional licensing if you accept a plea bargain or are convicted at trial.
6. If you are ever again, at any time in your life, caught in the same situation you will be classified as a repeat offender facing much heavier penalties.
The mark of a criminal record, both arrest and conviction, when coupled with the proliferation of the personal computers and the advent of the Internet makes justice data accessible in an unprecedented way and you will be marked for life if you have taken a plea bargain and been convicted.
1. If you find yourself in these circumstances with false allegations being used to deprive you of everything you own and love it would probably be wise, and economical to hire a private investigator to provide you with the facts. One national group we have worked successfully with is Blue Moon Investigations but there are many others.
2. The use of lie detectors can short circuit many of the games women play with false allegations. Dual, paired testing by certified polygraphers working independently of local courts and attorneys holds the promise of significantly reducing perjury commonly encountered in domestic violence cases. Such methods are most economical and effective if employed early in the dispute.
3. Using polygraphy in combination with a private investigator can be particularly effective in preventing false allegations from going forward.
1. There is a very good chance, much better than 95%, that you will have your case dismissed or be found innocent in a jury trial, but a plea of guilty, no contest, or accepting a plea bargain of any kind simply because you want to get it over with will be virtually impossible to change. The sentence, protection order, and the label of abuser, are for life. If you value your honor, your career, and freedom, these hearings are the time to defend them.
There were 18,691 misdemeanor cases of domestic violence in 2009 (Table 58) but only 765 misdemeanor jury trials, and in a number of judicial districts and county there were no jury trials. Clearly the odds are very much in your favor if you plead not guilty and demand a jury trial in a criminal domestic violence case. If charged with a felony you would be a fool to not take your case to a jury.
2. Prosecutors found that they got a higher conviction rate if the alleged "victim" didn't testify, so-called "evidence-based prosecution." The approach was to try the case in the same fashion the prosecutor would a murder case, with no victim present (if the defense doesn't subpoena her or she didn't appear). Statements made by the woman at the time of the arrest (excited utterances) are recorded. Videos and photographs from the arrest are used as evidence against you. Police officers also testify and their notes are admitted even though their testimony is hearsay.
However, in Crawford v. Washington in March 2004 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment required that the defendant had the right to cross-examine any witness or author of a report used against him as reaffirmed in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts. That has largely put an end to "evidence-based prosecution" if the woman doesn't want to testify against the man. But that fact may not be explained to you. And be sure your attorney is aware of it as well.
If the woman does want to press charges and continue to trial, you must be sure and subpoena the "victim." Dismissal of the charges should be demanded if she fails to appear as she is very likely to be the best witness in your defense.
3. We hear from many men and women who have taken a plea bargain because they were afraid to go through a jury trial. It is the position of the Equal Justice Foundation that if you are too afraid to stand in front of your fellow citizens and proclaim and defend your innocence then you must be judged guilty, of moral cowardice if nothing else. The jury system is about the only process still working in our courts. Because of that many legislators and judges are doing their best to eliminate jury trials.
Conversely, a bench trial to a judge is simply a long, slow way of pleading guilty.
1. To repeat, we regard a trial to a judge of a man (and often a woman) accused of domestic violence in Colorado as a long, slow way of pleading guilty. Thus, if you hope to prove your innocence, you must go through a jury trial if the "victim" wishes to prosecute.
Very often, however, if the defendant demands a jury trial the "victim" will decide they don't want to have to testify before an impartial jury.
1. In one of the many shams associated with current practice in domestic violence, if a man pleads guilty, accepts a plea bargain, or is given a deferred sentence, the mandatory protection order is often dropped and he is free to return home. However, if he pleads innocent, the protection order is kept in place until the trial three to six months later. Thus the innocent are punished while the guilty go free.
2. Note that in Colorado under the Sixth Amendment they must give you a trial within six months after you enter a plea of not guilty or you may petition for dismissal of the charges against you. Most jurisdictions in Colorado are quite careful about that time limitation.
However, if you or your attorney agree to a continuation you will probably surrender your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial and the nightmare can drag on for years.
3. During the fall of 2002 we began hearing from men in several states who had been arrested initially for misdemeanor domestic violence but whose bail had now been set in the $150,000 to $1,000,000 range.
Note that in the O.J. Simpson trial he was accused of murdering two people, including his wife, and his bond was only $216,000. As noted, with domestic violence cases society now punishes the innocent and frees the guilty.
As best we can sort out the bail scam is encouraged by interplay between vindictive and vicious women, probably suffering from mental disorders, and aggressive, ideologically-driven assistant district attorneys, often female.
After the initial arrest, and entering a plea of not guilty with a jury trial demand, the man is set free on bail. A series of protection order violation claims, or allegations of additional domestic violence are then brought against him by this virago and he is rearrested. If he bonds out again, the same scenario may be replayed, with a sequence of three reruns the longest we have heard of before bail is raised to the point it can't be met.
Release bonds are also increased because the prosecutors have become very fond of tacking on additional charges far above and beyond what the initial police report indicated.
The DA's objectives seem to be to deter men from pleading not guilty and demanding a jury trial, thus keeping their costs and workload at a minimum.
The spiteful, vindictive objectives of the woman are obvious.
1. About half of the married men who have contacted the Equal Justice Foundation for assistance report that they were charged with domestic violence or abuse after they found their wife was having an affair. Filing such charges gives her both vengeance against her husband (how dare he spy on her) and the house, the car, the kids, the bank account, credit cards, and anything else she wants to take.
2. With a sample size of well over 300,000 DNA paternity tests per year it is evident that some 30%, or roughly one in three, of these tests show the alleged father could not possibly have fathered the child.
You can be certain any children you have will be used as weapons against you in the divorce and DV case. Thus, when charged with DV or abuse and you have children it is essential to have DNA paternity testing done to verify, or deny you are the biological father. In today's world it would be wise to have the DNA paternity test done immediately after her child is born. However, if she has been having an affair she will likely do everything in her considerable power, as given to her by the false DV charges, to keep you from the kids and prevent DNA testing from being done.
3. Colorado law now prohibits a man from challenging child support once orders are entered or the divorce is final. Thus, a domestic violence conviction may often lead to a man being enslaved to pay child support for children he is not the biological father of, and for children he does not, or cannot have contact with.
1. If you are married to this woman, and especially if you have young children, the criminal nightmare is only one minor aspect of your problems.
2. We have heard of marriages that survived DV charges being filed but likely any remaining trust goes out of the relationship. And the more common scenario we hear of is the couple get back together, the problems continue, and he is arrested a second and sometimes a third time before the man realizes that the relationship can't continue if he is to survive. And sometimes the men don't live.
3. Many women who file these charges think of it as a great way to get revenge or as vengeance against a man they are angry at. And, since it worked so great for her the first time, why shouldn't she charge you again the next time she wants vengeance or to keep you away from the kids? You know far better than we how mentally unstable this mad bitch really is.
If she files additional charges your probation will be revoked, you will go to jail again, you are then a repeat offender, and the prosecution only needs show that a preponderance of the evidence indicates you are guilty before a judge rather than the far more stringent requirement of beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury in a criminal charge. Guess how much chance you stand in the courts in those conditions? Basically is she says you're guilty, then you're guilty after your first conviction.
Now if you plan on leaving the state immediately after taking this plea bargain (with the doubtful permission of your probation officer), and the conviction won't impact your job at the new location (don't bet on that), then her future actions may not be of concern. We don't encounter many men for whom that holds true.
4. The mandated DV and any other court-ordered counseling will cost you about $2,000 on top of your attorney fees and require several hours of your time every week for around nine months. Attendance is mandatory.
5. If you have children and are going through a divorce, custody of your children will automatically go to your wife if you accept any type of plea bargain. Also, you will likely only be able to see your children, if ever again, during supervised visitation, for which you will pay $20 to $80 per hour, for at least two years.
Experience with hundreds of cases suggests the best way to minimize damage to the children and yourself is to plead innocent, demand a jury trial, get a competent attorney, and don't file for a divorce until the DV case has been settled. If you file for divorce after she files domestic violence charges against you it looks like retaliation on your part, and that will be held against you in divorce hearings. Conversely, if she files for divorce soon after charging you with domestic violence many judges are now wise to women using these laws to manipulate the courts in their favor. So she isn't likely to gain unless you are convicted, or take an equivalent plea bargain.
The dumbest thing it seems a married man with young children can do in these cases is take a plea bargain on a DV charge and then file for divorce. Of course, a man can further compound his mistakes by attempting to bring DV charges, or attempting to get a protection order against his wife. That makes attorneys rich and, at best, a man ends up with mutual protection orders and supervised visitation with his children. Of course in many cases we hear about the man has no visitation and years later it turns out he isn't the biological father even though he has been paying child support for the kids.
On March 8, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited the admission of out-of-court statements without the witness who made the statements appearing in person for cross examination if that witness were able and available. U.S. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in Crawford vs. Washington 124 S.Ct. 1354 (2004) that it "...i s fundamentally at odds with the right of confrontation," as guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment to proceed in a criminal case where the complainant or witnesses were available but did not, or would not testify. The ruling in Crawford vs. Washington was amplified in Melendez-Diaz vs. Massachusetts wherein any expert or preparer of a report can be required under the Confrontation Clause of Amendment VI to testify at trial instead of simply allowing a notarized or authenticated copy of their report to be introduced as evidence without cross examination.
The Crawford v Washington ruling sent shock waves through the Domestic Violence Industry. No longer could alleged perpetrators be convicted without the opportunity to challenge the testimony of others, including the alleged victim.
This unconscionable practice, commonly known as evidence-based prosecution arguably protected few and resulted in untold thousands of falsely accused being wrongly restrained from their children, homes, and property. How many men were terminated from their employment, imprisoned, ordered into batterer intervention programs; or, worse, driven to murder and suicide before the Crawford vs. Washington decision will never be known.
In most crimes it is unusual for prosecution to proceed when an uncooperative victim wants to drop the charges. In domestic violence, however, such prosecutions are still the norm.
However, after the Crawford decision domestic violence industry-trained prosecutor's have changed their tactics and now abuse purported victims instead. Any woman who states she will refuse to testify is threatened with charges of obstruction of justice and told they will be put in jail for failure to testify against the accused.
It is generally considered a crime to threaten or intimidate witnesses but the rule of law does not generally apply in domestic violence cases when it conflicts with redfem ideology.
In an even more draconian tactic, prosecutors coerce victims into testifying by threatening to report them for failure to protect their children to Child Protective Services (CPS), a secretive enforcement agency that makes the domestic violence industry look like the greatest protector of civil liberties since our Founding Fathers. In the 21 st Century CPS has become little more than a legalized kidnapping ring and adoption agency looking for children to steal.
If children are present in the home, or if child abuse charges have been filed against the defendant, once domestic violence charges are filed CPS will usually be notified and investigate. That investigation will typically proceed even if charges are dismissed.
Thus, the odds that a man or woman's children will be seized are greatly exaggerated if domestic violence is reported.
1. NOTE: In many cases that we have seen, when men are abused by their mate the violence and calls to 911 are repeated if she gets away with it the first time. Thus, a man who pleads guilty, accepts a deferred judgement, or pleads no contest to simply get the ordeal over with in order to get back with his family, finds himself deemed a repeat offender the next time she plays her games. Many men and women are turning to surveillance methods in self defense in order to obtain evidence against their accuser if the harassment or violence continues after initial charges are filed.
2. If you plead guilty the first time it will be virtually impossible to defend yourself from any subsequent charges she makes, however fraudulent her claims. Penalties for repeat offenders are increasingly stiff and commonly include a minimum of 3 months in jail and a third conviction is a felony as of July 1, 2000, in Colorado. And in subsequent hearings the standard of proof is likely to only be "preponderance of evidence" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
In case there is any doubt in your mind, what "preponderance of evidence" means is "You're male, you're guilty!" And if you are, or were in the military you will also be regarded and treated as a "trained killer."
1. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (PL 97-252, 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 (predominantly the "Dad" ) for perpetrating domestic violence on his civilian spouse/dependents by revoking any retirement benefits from him and providing these benefits to his victims. In other cases retired military men have been required to pay half their retirement benefits to their abusive wives even after these women are convicted.
2. If you accept a plea bargain, a deferred sentence, or are convicted of domestic violence or abuse your military career is effectively ended and, if not immediately discharged, you will not be permitted to reenlist.
The same punishments apply if a permanent restraining order is entered against you. Note that in Colorado a "permanent" restraining order is for life and you cannot even ask for modifications for at least four years.
In one case we know of a Marine sergeant with eight-years honorable service was not permitted to reenlist because his wife was violent.
3. Unfounded accusations against military members destroy careers. Even false accusations may accomplish the same result. And when complaints are taken by a victim's advocate without a sober analysis as to whether the allegation is true or not, children and families may be destroyed.
4. The military frowns upon the accusation alone, and reputations with higher command are not necessarily resurrected just because the falsity of the claim is proven in court. In essence you are guilty even if proven innocent.
5. If convicted or you accept a plea bargain you will immediately lose your right to carry a weapon and any security clearance you may have. Those punishments are for life.
6. While technically not a "former spouse" benefit, since no divorce is required, under 10 U.S. Code § 1059 (as implemented by DOD Instruction 1342.24 ), a spouse or dependent child (under 18, or under 23 if in college) is entitled to receive transitional compensation and benefits if the service member is discharged for abuse, i.e. domestic violence or sexual assault, against the spouse or child.
As of December 2004, monthly payments are $993 for a spouse, and $247 for each child, and the dependents are entitled to medical, dental, commissary, and exchange benefits. The payments are pegged to the level of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation established by 38 U.S. Code § 1311, and lasts for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of the lesser of 36 months or the service member's length of service.
The spouse is not entitled to receive the payments while a court-martial punishment of forfeitures is suspended. Furthermore, payments to a spouse terminate upon the spouse's remarriage, or if the service member resides in the same household as the spouse.
As it has become ever more difficult to get convictions in criminal domestic violence cases, the truly ugly part of this law is that victim's advocates and redfem shelters are using it as a bribe to try and get wives to testify against their military husbands.
1. From the time the protection order is imposed until it is cleared from all databases it is a violation of Federal law 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8 and 9) to purchase, acquire, or be in possession of firearms or ammunition. This is a felony with a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison if convicted.
2. Collectors items are held to be in this category as well. "In possession" generally means in the same room as, in close proximity to, or under your effective control. If you are visiting a friend and they have a gun collection, you are in violation and could be sentenced to five years (minimum) in prison.
3. However, there are differences as to what constitutes a "firearm" between state and federal laws. For reasons known only to bureaucrats, under federal law black-powder, muzzle loaders, and any gun manufactured before 1895 are not considered firearms under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8 and 9). But under Colorado law a firearm is any device that propels a projectile due to an explosive chemical reaction. So black powder is considered ammunition and a muzzle loader is a firearm in Colorado and the age of the firearm is irrelevant. Your state may differ.
4. Some states and federal regulations broaden the definition of what is banned under DV laws to include other dangerous weapons, e.g., swords, grenades, explosives, ammunition, etc. For example, if you are a truck driver you will usually not be permitted to carry hazardous materials and may lose your commercial drivers license.
5. Typically, and under Colorado law, crossbows, CO 2 guns, bows and arrows, catapults, and similar weapons are not barred after a DV conviction or with a protection order. But you may still encounter problems getting a hunting license and police will definitely harass you if you have such weapons with you when they stop you.
6. If you have a gun collection, swords, etc., the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (BATFE) approved method of storage after issuance of a protection order or being charged with domestic violence is with an attorney, with the police or sheriff, or with an approved firearms dealer. Have a friend or relative collect them for you and remove them to an approved storage location until after you are sure the protection order has been lifted and your name removed from the state and federal databases. That will usually require a separate motion to the court or personally carrying a certified copy of the court order of dismissal to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation office.
7. If you are convicted of any charge involving domestic violence, or accept a plea bargain involving such a charge, then you can never possess or be in the vicinity of a firearm or ammunition again in your life. That is true whether or not you are given a deferred sentence or are told the conviction will be sealed if you do not reoffend. Bye, bye Second Amendment rights.
8. If the DV charges against you are dismissed or you are acquitted at trial, or the protection order is dismissed or dropped, you should have a gun dealer run a check on you to be absolutely sure your name has been removed from all databases.
9. As of 2008 some judges in Colorado are exempting a few individuals who are required to carry a firearm in the performance of their duties from the provisions of Colorado law regarding firearms after a DV conviction or while a protection order is in place. Typically these exemptions limit the possession of a firearm only at times and places required by the individual's occupation. Firearms are typically still banned from the offender's home and the federal law still applies.
1. If you accept a plea bargain, plead no contest, or are convicted of domestic violence it is virtually certain you will be placed on probation. The Conditions of Domestic Violence Probation are not pleasant and your life will not be your own until probation is successfully completed.
2. If you plead guilty, no contest, take a deferred judgement, or are convicted, every time a police officer or other government official has occasion to check your background, for example during a routine traffic stop, you will appear on their database as having a domestic violence or abuse protection order against you. Civilians are also subject a host of other penalties as well. For example, truck drivers cannot haul explosives or hazardous materials (HAZMAT).
3. While awaiting trial you may be required to wear an electronic location monitoring device or subjected to other surveillance. In DV we punish the innocent and free the guilty.
4. Even if proven innocent, and you have not taken expensive and time consuming measures to have your name removed, your name will remain on these databases. Such information will be available even if you are cleared should you require a security clearance, a financial bond, or a securities license.
5. Job reference checks on COcourts or by a private investigator will also show you have a record so it may be difficult to get new employment. Many men subjected to these charges report they have lost their jobs simply because they were charged with domestic violence, or the excuse is made for their termination that they were not performing adequately, or they were absent from work too often because of court appearances.
In DV cases you will often be considered guilty even if you have proven your innocence.
6. If at any point after a protection order is granted, when accosted by a police officer and you are in the company of the person who has the protection order against you, with or without that person's permission to be there, you will be arrested. For example, you and your wife may have quarreled and you pled no contest to get it over with. You and your wife then get back together but don't bother, or can't afford attorney fees to get the record cleared. You are breaking the terms of the protection order and you will be arrested if stopped by the police. The explicit objective of the law is to permanently separate you and your mate. Erin Pizzey regards this as the planned destruction of the family, and we agree.
1. If convicted of domestic violence or accept a plea bargain you will also lose any high-level security clearance you may have under DoD Directive 5220.6 (PDF) and, if you are in the military, other punitive actions will be taken against you by your command typically including a discharge, often under less than honorable conditions.
Military personnel convicted of domestic violence often lose their retirement and VA benefits, including health care even if it is a combat disability.
2. Even false accusations make renewing security clearances problematic at best. When the federal government looks at security clearances, they seek clean records, not "problem children" who have been under a cloud previously.
3. Investigators will speak to the ex-spouse, including those who made known and proven false accusations. The military member or DoD civilian, both government and contractor, must defend him or herself yet again from the accusation, and the report written by the investigator is, in essence, a de novo review. The court decision has no bearing on the investigator's recommendation to renew, or not renew at their sole discretion, a security clearance.
1. If you are convicted, plead guilty, or no contest on a charge of domestic violence you will find it difficult, and often impossible, to buy a house or get a loan as your record will show on COcourts.
2. Apartment complexes now routinely use online databases that do a combination credit/background check. They will not rent to anyone who has been convicted of DV.
1. 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, that ruling applies whether you plead guilty, no contest, plea bargain, or accept a deferred judgement. You may also face charges of aggravated deportation and be required to serve up to ten years in a federal penitentiary before being deported.
2. The law requiring deportation also applies to a wide range of crimes ranging from manslaughter to misdemeanor drunken driving, as well as domestic violence. Domestic violence is regarded as a crime of moral turpitude.
1. Under the Violence Against Women Act a female foreign citizen can obtain virtually instant citizenship if she is a victim of domestic violence by her husband in the United States. That has led to an immigration racket whereby women, commonly from former Soviet Union countries, but cases from Mexico and many other countries are known, marries an American citizen. She then moves to this country and lives with him for a few months to a year.
2. After a long enough residence period to make her claims seem credible, the foreign woman will claim her American husband is beating and abusing her. Self-inflicted injuries are common in these cases to bolster her credibility. Often she will have been coached by other women, victim's advocates, or shelter workers on how to go about this fraud.
3. Once her husband is arrested and charged with domestic violence she then goes to the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and is given priority for citizenship, often within months. Local victim advocates and shelter workers will help her in this endeavor.
4. The Department of Health and Human Services also provides funding for shelters to help these allegedly "abused" women and the Equal Justice Foundation has many reports of American women who couldn't get into a shelter because it was filled with "immigrants."
5. These women will also be provided free legal help and translators if needed.
1. Many, if not most men (and women) who go through the hell of being charged with domestic violence or abuse suffer a variety of health problems as a result of the strain. Such stress-induced diseases as heart attacks, asthma, arthritis, headaches, and vision problems are common, or exacerbated by the situation. The list is by no means inclusive. Sleeplessness is a virtual certainty. Alcohol, or other substance abuse may result from, or be worsened by, such charges. Mental aberrations may result either from stress, improper nutrition, or both. Impotence, temporary or possibly permanent, may result. All of these conditions are associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and you should read up on the available information.'
2. If you have been falsely accused you almost certainly have some conditions related to PTSD.
Mistrust of women in general is a likely result and it will probably be difficult or impossible to form another stable heterosexual relationship.
Additional charges, such as driving under the influence (DUI), may arise out of these health and mental conditions, compounding an individual's problems.
The many hearings and trial will be emotionally and physically exhausting should you make the wise move of insisting on a trial. The medical terms for what you are going through include divorce-related depression, cognitive impairment, and an inability to concentrate.
It is also likely you will consider suicide. Many men appear to be driven to murder and suicide by actions of their estranged wives or lovers. We hope that you might find something in these pages to help work through these terrible times and redirect your anger and frustration. At least you should find you are not as alone as you may have thought.
3. If you do not go to trial, a bad choice in our opinion, you will be forced into an evaluation and DV treatment (brain washing) that is likely to increase your level of anger and despair. And, of course, you can go to trial and lose. But most attorneys who defend men against domestic violence charges report phenomenally high success rates in obtaining dismissals or acquittals. The high rates of dismissals and acquittals is primarily because most of the charges are baseless, or an overreaction to the situation by the police and prosecutors. But the costs to you are the same.
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