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What is domestic violence in Colorado?

Domestic violence in itself can be described in many ways, but the law defines it specifically. Colorado laws define domestic violence in different ways depending on the situation, but within those situations, the determination is clear. For instance, animal cruelty can be used as a way to be violent against a partner. What constitutes cruelty? Controlling a person with criminal or noncriminal acts. In the case of animal cruelty, it could be threatening, injuring or killing a pet belonging to a spouse or partner in order to control the partner.

Another example would be this: if you were hit, bite, strangled, or kicked by your partner, then he may have been trying to control you through assault. This is a criminal act as defined by Colorado law. Assaults aren't the only things that are considered domestic violence. Assault doesn't include things like accidentally tripping or pushing someone or causing any other accidental injury.

Several other things that can be used against a person and that will be considered to be domestic violence include burglary, disturbing the peace, kidnapping, harassment, child abuse, arson, wiretapping or false imprisonment. Essentially, any act that is directed at a person for the purpose of exerting control and power over them is domestic violence. Even online violence like stalking or monitoring emails could be considered domestic violence.

If you've found yourself being accused of domestic violence but haven't participated in these acts, it's important to speak up and defend yourself. You're in a precarious position, and it's wise to take the steps you need to make sure you don't have to go to trial with a bias against you.

Source: Colorado Bar Association, "Colorado Domestic Violence Benchbook" accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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