Colorado passed a law in 2000 that allows repeat domestic violence offenders to see a felony-level conviction. Now, a Colorado man is the first person in Boulder County who will get a felony-level conviction after repeated misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. His case may actually be the first in the state, but that data isn't available, according to the Colorado State Court Administrator's Office.
The habitual offender law typically involves repeat offenders who commit felony-level offenses. In those cases, prison time is likely, so there is in a sense no need to categorize them as "habitual."
In this recent case, however, repeated misdemeanors don't necessarily result in prison time. Under the habitual offender law, however, they will. The man, who is from Longmont, will likely see one to three years in prison as a habitual offender. He's due back in court later this week.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, in cases like his, it's necessary for prosecutors to prove that each of the three previous cases involved domestic violence and that the accused is in fact the same person who was involved in all three. That may be a challenge since domestic violence wasn't always noted in older case files.
The Boulder County man's situation is probably going to be more common. A spokesperson for the Colorado State Court Administrator's Office says that additional cases are likely.
The state first adopted domestic violence designations for criminal charges back in 1994.
Source: Daily Camera, "Longmont man first to draw 'habitual' title in misdemeanor domestic violence cases," Pierrette J. Shields, March 8, 2012