Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence – More than Just Physical Violence

When you hear the term domestic violence, specific images tend to come to mind. You may picture unhappy couples, screaming matches, and visible injuries. However, the term domestic violence includes so much more, and not all of it is physically violent.  What’s more, is that it’s not always the death knell of the relationship. Here at NGLaw, we’ve dealt with hundreds of cases where we’ve represented either the accused, or the victim (and sometimes they’re one and the same). What we’ve learned is that these kinds of cases are hard, never clear-cut, and every relationship is unique. This is why we offer a case-specific approach to DV cases.  Not every case mandates anger management! Not every argument got physical! Not every client needs drug or alcohol monitoring! We are not one-size-fits-all legal representation. Read on to learn more about domestic violence cases and how we might be able to help you deal with your unique situation. 

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Domestic Violence- More Than Just Punches 

The legal definition of domestic violence is an act (or threatened act) of violence against someone you are in an intimate relationship with. It also includes other types of crimes besides just violent crimes, though, if those crimes are committed with the intent to retaliate, control, harass, etc. the intimate partner.  Intimate partners is defined as current or past couples & spouses, or even parents of the same child – regardless if they have ever been in a relationship. The term applies to a wide range of situations, and includes more than physical violence. It can even include acts against property or animals when used to coerce, punish, or use as revenge against a partner. Overall, ANY type of case can be domestic violence if used for retaliation, control, etc. even breaking your own marital property. 

Sexual Abuse and DV

Many types of sexual abuse can be considered domestic violence if the parties involved were in an intimate relationship. This includes rape, sexual assault, harassment, and other demeaning behaviors even posting revenge porn. Additionally, this could extend to coercion into having an abortion or not using contraception. Lastly, intentionally spreading sexually transmitted diseases or attempting to do so can be charged as a criminal offense.  Sexual abuse is also grounds for civil restraining orders.  Unlike most stranger-cases, a sexual abuse case between partners is actually harder to prove than most because consent becomes an issue.  Although a previous or past consensual sexual relationship does not automatically prove consent for the act in question, a consent defense usually has some merit.  Consent in Colorado is defined as, “cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act. A current or previous relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. Submission under the influence of fear does not constitute consent.”  Sexual abuse in the context of domestic violence charges is an extremely complex legal case demanding competent legal help. Reach out today if you or a loved one are facing charges for any of these types of crimes.

Financial Abuse 

Financial abuse is the least obvious form of domestic violence, but like other forms relies on the element of control. This can include preventing a partner from obtaining a job or education, or withholding money for food or other necessities. When the victim is dependent on their partner for money, it can leave a situation in which the true victim is completely at the mercy of their partner, and might be unable to leave the relationship. Many domestic violence experts in Colorado will testify that financial control over someone else is a red flag for a DV-type of relationship.  What’s counterintuitive though is that the absence of financial control doesn’t work in an accused’s favor unless there are no other red flags.  Power and control dynamics, as well as the cycle of violence (more on that here), are common themes for these experts’ testimony.  If you’ve been charged with DV and have unequal finances with your partner, best to contact a good attorney today.

Psychological or Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse are the hardest kinds of acts to base a domestic violence case on. Often times, without the combination of other types of abuse only severe cases can bring about a domestic violence charge. They capture a wide range of behaviors such as destruction of victim’s self worth, preventing the victim from talking to others, or emotional blackmail. Most people don’t immediately recognize psychological or emotional abuse as domestic violence since the behaviors seem to be common in unhealthy relationships. Many people have even experienced (or committed) some of these behaviors themselves.

If you’re mad at your partner and destroy one of their belongings? This could legally be considered domestic violence since it is an act of violence against property in order to punish or seek revenge against a partner. If you’re in a heated argument with your partner and threaten violence, even if you would never actually do it? This could legally be considered domestic violence, as even the threat alone is enough for a case. Threats of any sort can land you in hot water, and we all have said things in the heat of the moment that we regret later.  Threats paired with subsequent apologies followed by more threats and more apologies are fodder for domestic violence charges.  Beware and be warned… a good attorney can help you get out from under this kind of case, too. 

The Bottom Line for Domestic Violence Cases

While some situations may be easier to prosecute as domestic violence, a wide array of behaviors can be considered domestic violence. If you are a victim, remember help is always available. Consider reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are accused of domestic violence, the best way to avoid domestic violence charges is to know what the law includes, and recognize the risk.  If you are in need of legal assistance with a domestic violence case, consider reaching out to Nicol Gersch Law for a free 30-minute consultation. Find more information at https://NicolGerschLaw.com or call 970.670.0738 any time.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and NGLaw, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.