No matter which side of the courtroom an attorney typically finds themselves, all can agree that domestic violence causes harm. It weakens marital bonds, causes family strife, and dismantles hard-earned trust in relationships. Victims of abuse experience feelings of powerlessness, a loss of agency, and loneliness from being unheard.
The Colorado Legislature has enacted several laws regarding domestic violence cases in response to these harms. For example, law enforcement “shall” arrest a suspect if there is probable cause to believe domestic violence occurred. When it comes to domestic violence protection orders, Colorado courts can add a litany of restrictions that wouldn’t otherwise be ordered in other types of cases. Colorado also has strict laws about what kind of resolution parties in domestic violence cases can reach, prohibiting a plea agreement to a non-domestic violence crime unless prosecutors can’t prove an “intimate relationship” or make a “good faith representation” that they can’t establish a prima facie case of domestic violence at trial. §18-6-801(3), C.R.S.
All of these laws, in some way, create government actions to protect the victim. But what if the victim doesn’t want protection?