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New domestic violence law to go into effect

A new law regarding repeat domestic violence offenders is finally going into effect. The new law is seen as a clarification to an existing Colorado law that mandates that repeat domestic violence offenders should face stiffer penalties.

The original law was passed in 2000 and allowed offenders who were facing their fourth or more domestic violence misdemeanor conviction to be charged and tried as felons. This carries a possible penalty of up to three years in prison, far harsher than the max penalties for misdemeanor crimes. Previously, this older law was not enforced as often as it should have been because it was unclear whether convictions in municipal courts counted.

The new law ensures that each conviction counts for the habitual offender penalties instead of only counting convictions received in the country courts. The law also gives prosecutors leeway to prevent evidence in an attempt to show that convictions of disturbing the peace or assault should be counted as domestic violence related. This change is a significant one for those with any past history of violent misdemeanors or domestic abuse charges.

During a divorce, it's surprisingly common for allegations of abuse to come into play. In some cases, these are warranted and finally come to light when the victim feels he or she is getting free of the relationship and feels safe enough to bring charges against the abuser. In others, there may be false allegations made in an attempt to alienate one parent in a custody battle or to get back at the other party for filing for divorce. No matter which side of this situation you find yourself, talking with an attorney about the issue and how this new law may affect your case is crucial.

Source: The Denver Post, "New Colorado law targets repeat domestic violence offenders," Jennifer Brown, June 24, 2016

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