Category Archives: Uncategorized

Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases

Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer

Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases –While not limited to Colorado Domestic Violence cases, witnesses agreeing to not testify or testify falsely at trial is a significant and dangerous problem as the witness exposes him or herself to possible prosecution for Bribery under CRS 18-8-603.

This bribery law 18-8-603 CRS covers the witness that accepts a bribe – not the person who offers the bribe.

While I have written on this issue before – the possible pitfalls in this area justify several good reasons to revisit these issues in another article.

Always Start With The Law – 18-8-603 CRS – Bribe – Receiving By A Witness

Here is the Colorado law (2016) that applies when a witness accepts a bribe not to testify or to testify falsely. The law is very broadly written – especially the use of the term “benefit.”

18-8-603  Bribe – Receiving By A Witness

(1) A witness or a person believing he is to be called as a witness in any official proceeding commits a class 4 felony if he intentionally solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that:

(a) He will testify falsely or unlawfully withhold testimony; or

(b) He will attempt to avoid legal process summoning him to testify; or

(c) He will attempt to absent himself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned.

The Colorado Jury Instruction On This Law – Breaks Out The Crime Into It’s Component Parts

8-6:01 Bribe-receiving by a Witness (False or Withheld Testimony)

The elements of the crime of witness bribery (false or withheld testimony) are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. was a witness or believed that he [she] was to be called as a witness in any official proceeding, and

4. intentionally,

5. solicited, accepted, agreed to accept,

6. any benefit,

7. upon an agreement or understanding that he [she] would testify falsely or unlawfully withhold testimony.

[8. and that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense[s] in Instruction[s] ___.]

Key Definitions Of Critical Words Used In The Law Are:

“Benefit” means any gain or advantage to the beneficiary, including any gain or advantage to a third person pursuant to the desire or consent of the beneficiary.

A person acts “intentionally” or “with intent” when his [her] conscious objective is to cause the specific result proscribed by the statute defining the offense. It is immaterial to the issue of specific intent whether or not the result actually occurred.

“Official proceeding” means a proceeding heard before any legislative, judicial, administrative, or other governmental agency, or official authorized to hear evidence under oath, including any magistrate, hearing examiner, commissioner, notary, or other person taking testimony or depositions in any such proceedings.

“Testimony” includes oral or written statements, documents, or any other evidence that may be offered by or through a witness in an official proceeding.

Are There Any Defenses Under Colorado Law To A Witness Charged With Accepting A Bribe?

There are defenses to bribery charges in this context.

This is not an exhaustive list – but some possible examples of some possible defenses:

  • There was no specific intent to commit the crime.
  • Entrapment was used to coerce the witness Defendant into accepting the bribe. – (1) A law enforcement person induced the accused to accept a bribe and (2) the accused was not predisposed to accepting a bribe.
  • Other methods of coercion such as duress or threats were used.
  • The accused was too intoxicated to understand the nature of the crime he or she had committed.
  • The bribe never happened.
  • If some benefit was accepted there was no value to the benefit so it could not be construed as a bribe or the accused did not accept the benefit (if there was one) in exchange for testimony.

The Colorado Penalties For A Conviction Of The Crime Of Bribery Of A Witness 18-8-603 CRS

The crime of Bribery Of A Witness 18-8-603 is a Class 4 felony, and is punishable by a prison sentence to the Department of Corrections – see chart below.

Understanding How Easily You Could Be Caught Up In A Colorado Bribery Of A Witness Case

While the most common example of the corruption of a trial for this crime is the payment of cash or some other benefit to “miss the trial”

The more ambiguous situation may be where a friend or family member of a Defendant starts a conversation with a witness to the criminal case in an effort to “help” the Defendant by offering some benefit for changing the witnesses’s testimony or avoiding a subpoena or refusing to cooperate with the prosecution.

A bribe, in this context can be anything of present or future value or advantage – it can be a promise to give a thing, or a promise to omit from doing a thing.

There are no “magic” or specific words or behavior that are required to be used where the intent is clear enough that the witness had agreed for example not to attend a trial and/or judicial proceeding or otherwise alter their testimony on behalf of a party to the case.. The crime is complete when the bribe is solicited, accepted or there is an agreement to accept the bribe.

….

(1) A witness or a person believing he is to be called as a witness in any official proceeding commits a class 4 felony if he intentionally solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that:

(a) He will testify falsely or unlawfully withhold testimony; or

(b) He will attempt to avoid legal process summoning him to testify; or

(c) He will attempt to absent himself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned.

The benefit offered need not actually be given, it may not even exist at the time it is offered.

“Benefit” means any gain or advantage to the beneficiary, including any gain or advantage to a third person pursuant to the desire or consent of the beneficiary.

The witness need only be encouraged to avoid the service of a summons or subpoena – this is VERY VERY COMMON in Colorado domestic violence cases!

Several Laws Are Designed To Protect The Integrity Of The Colorado Criminal Trial Process

While Bribery – Receiving by a Witness – is one of the crimes in the category of crimes designed to protect the Colorado criminal justice system, there are others.

Bribing a Witness, under C.R.S pm5mbbo. 18-8-703, is nearly identical the 18-8-603 and the law includes efforts to bribe a family member, close friend, or household member of the prospective witness. It is also a class 4 felony.

18-8-703. Bribing a witness or victim

(1) A person commits bribing a witness or victim if he or she offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon a witness, or a victim, or a person he or she believes is to be called to testify as a witness or victim in any official proceeding, or upon a member of the witness’ family, a member of the victim’s family, a person in close relationship to the witness or victim, or a person residing in the same household as the witness or victim with intent to:

(a) Influence the witness or victim to testify falsely or unlawfully withhold any testimony; or

(b) Induce the witness or victim to avoid legal process summoning him to testify; or

(c) Induce the witness or victim to absent himself or herself from an official proceeding.

(2) Bribing a witness or victim is a class 4 felony.

Tampering With A Witness – or – Victim 18-8-707 –

Tampering is a Class 4 Felony that does not require a bribe or threat but rather includes ANY act that impacts a witnesses’ testimony:

§ 18-8-707. Tampering with a witness or victim

(1) A person commits tampering with a witness or victim if he intentionally attempts without bribery or threats to induce a witness or victim or a person he believes is to be called to testify as a witness or victim in any official proceeding or who may be called to testify as a witness to or victim of any crime to:

(a) Testify falsely or unlawfully withhold any testimony; or

(b) Absent himself from any official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned; or

(c) Avoid legal process summoning him to testify.

(2) Tampering with a witness or victim is a class 4 felony.

Tampering with physical evidence, C.R.S. § 18-8-610, – a class 6 felony. This crime involves the destruction or alteration of physical evidence with the intent to impair its verity or availability in some official proceeding.

Intimidating a witness or victim, C.R.S. § 18-8-704, a Class 4 felony.

This version of criminal procedural protections involves the use of a threat or harassment or any act of harm to person or property, against a witness or victim or member of the family of the witness or victim, with the intent to alter testimony or induce the witness or victim not to testify. It becomes “Aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim, C.R.S. § 18-8-705, when the crime of intimidating a witness, involves the use of a deadly weapon or results in any injury or fear as the result of the use of a deadly weapon.

The crime is then enhanced to a Class 3 Felony.

18-8-704. Intimidating a witness or victim

(1) A person commits intimidating a witness or victim if, by use of a threat, act of harassment as defined in section 18-9-111, or act of harm or injury to any person or property directed to or committed upon a witness or a victim to any crime, a person he or she believes has been or is to be called or who would have been called to testify as a witness or a victim, a member of the witness’ family, a member of the victim’s family, a person in close relationship to the witness or victim, a person residing in the same household with the witness or victim, or any person who has reported a crime or who may be called to testify as a witness to or victim of any crime, he or she intentionally attempts to or does:

(a) Influence the witness or victim to testify falsely or unlawfully withhold any testimony; or

(b) Induce the witness or victim to avoid legal process summoning him to testify; or

(c) Induce the witness or victim to absent himself or herself from an official proceeding; or

(d) Inflict such harm or injury prior to such testimony or expected testimony.

(2) Intimidating a witness or victim is a class 4 felony.

Finally The Colorado Retaliation Against A Witness Or Victim – 18-8-706.

Here the threat or act of harassment follows the criminal trial or hearing.

§ 18-8-706. Retaliation against a witness or victim

(1) An individual commits retaliation against a witness or victim if such person uses a threat, act of harassment as defined in section 18-9-111, or act of harm or injury upon any person or property, which action is directed to or committed upon a witness or a victim to any crime, an individual whom the person believes has been or would have been called to testify as a witness or victim, a member of the witness’ family, a member of the victim’s family, an individual in close relationship to the witness or victim, an individual residing in the same household with the witness or victim, as retaliation or retribution against such witness or victim.

(2) Retaliation against a witness or victim is a Class 3 Felony.

Summary – Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases

The primary focus in this article is to educate the potential witness who believes they may be doing “the right thing” for their friend or family member by helping another – such as a friend or family member who is also a witness – to avoid testifying or even going so far as to testify falsely. This is a trap for the unwary.. for by agreeing to this kind of conduct – the Defendant in the original proceeding may go free, but the witness who has accepted the bribe then replaces that person in the Defendant’s chair -now charged with a very serious felony.

Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases

If you found any of the information I have provided on this web page article helpful please click my Plus+1 or the Share buttons for Twitter and Facebook below so that others may also find it.

The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael will be at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case. H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case

H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer - 30 years experienceABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – please call 720-220-2277.

“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer. We encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way – Colorado Criminal Law – Taking A Bribe To Refuse To Testify As A Witness 18-8-603 – A Pitfall For The Unwary In Domestic Violence Cases.

 

How To Lift A Colorado Criminal Domestic Violence No Contact Order by Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

How To Lift A Colorado Criminal Domestic Violence No Contact Order by Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

 A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Lifting the Domestic Violence No Contact Order

by Denver Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Attorney H. Michael Steinberg

Some Questions and Answers About DV No Contact Restraining Orders

Lifting Colorado Domestic Violence No Contact Orders
Colorado Domestic Violence Defense

Why Do I Have a Domestic Violence No Contact Order?

In most Colorado criminal domestic violence cases – (there are few exceptions -Denver Municipal Court for example) the judge the judge will place a Domestic Violence No Contact Order in place in connection with a defendant’s release from jail – usually as a condition of bond – even a personal (PR) recognizance bond.

This order is punishable by BOTH contempt of court proceedings and an additional charge – separately brought in a new case – known to defense lawyers as a “VOR” – Violation of Restraining Order.

The Order prohibits any contact with the alleged victim by any means, either direct or indirect (such as through a third party). This is the automatic imposition of a no-contact order in criminal and juvenile cases. No contact orders are imposed at the first advisement (also called erroneously an arraignment) or first court appearance and remain in effect until final case disposition. The order restrains the accused “from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts.”

Sometimes, the Court places the  “No Contact” order between the parties because the victim states that he or she is still in fear of the accused. Sometimes the Court places the order of “No Contact” based on the facts and circumstances surrounding the crimes charged….In every case the” DV tag” – that is the naming of the victim as someone with whom the accused has had an intimate relationship – is the basis for the no contact order under Colorado law.

These orders are often placed even when there has been no direct feedback or specific request from the alleged victim in the case.

What are the Colorado Penalties for Violating the No Contact Order?

As alluded to above – Colorado Judges take a domestic violence No Contact order very seriously. Violating a court order is seen as contempt of court – an affront to the dignity of the court and the Judge’s authority and to the authority of the criminal justice system. If a judge or a DA learn that a “No Contact” order has been violated, it may cause the accused to lose their freedom – their right to be on bond, called a revocation of bail.

A warrant is then issued for their arrest – sometimes accompanied with what is known as a “No Bond Hold.”  This bond status indicates that release from the jail on a bond is impossible. Protective order violations also provide the basis for several other related penalties, such as bail forfeiture; bail, pretrial release, or probation revocation; imposition of supervision; and incarceration.

The Colorado crime of Violation of a Restraining Order reads as follows:

C.R.S. 18-6-803.5 Crime of Violation of a Protection Order – Penalty – Peace Officers’ Duties

(2) (a) Violation of a protection order is a class 2 misdemeanor; except that, if the restrained person has previously been convicted of violating this section or a former version of this section or an analogous municipal ordinance, or if the protection order is issued pursuant to section 18-1-1001, the violation is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(a.5) A second or subsequent violation of a protection order is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to the modified sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-501 (3).

Link to Colorado Criminal Penalties Chart

18-6-803.5. Crime of Violation of a Protection Order – Penalty – Peace Officers’ Duties

(3) (a) Whenever a protection order is issued, the protected person shall be provided with a copy of such order. A peace officer shall use every reasonable means to enforce a protection order. (b) A peace officer shall arrest, or, if an arrest would be impractical under the circumstances, seek a warrant for the arrest of a restrained person when the peace officer has information amounting to probable cause that:

(I) The restrained person has violated or attempted to violate any provision of a protection order;

and

(II) The restrained person has been properly served with a copy of the protection order or the restrained person has received actual notice of the existence and substance of such order. (c) In making the probable cause determination described in paragraph (b) of this subsection (3), a peace officer shall assume that the information received from the registry is accurate. A peace officer shall enforce a valid protection order whether or not there is a record of the protection order in the registry.

(d) The arrest and detention of a restrained person is governed by applicable constitutional and applicable state rules of criminal procedure. The arrested person shall be removed from the scene of the arrest and shall be taken to the peace officer’s station for booking,

Summary

A violation of the “No Contact” order therefore constitutes a new and separate criminal charge of “Violation of a Protection Order.” As a result, the prosecutor can add an additional criminal count to the already pending domestic violence case or more likely – charge the accused in an entirely new case.

How Will They Even Know If I Violate the Colorado Domestic Violence No Contact Order?

The violation of a Colorado No Contact order can come to the judge’s attention in multiple and varied ways. The most common way is when an alleged victim makes a complaint directly to the victim’s  advocate, the police, the judge, or the DA’s Office – alleging that they were contacted by a defendant who has a “No Contact” order in place as part of a condition of their bond release.

Evidence may consist of text messages, emails, or voice mails from the defendant. Sometimes – unbelievably – alleged victim voluntarily initiates contact with the accused and arranges to meet them. The police are then called!

Another method to trap the accused happens when a family member or friend who disapproves of the relationship can “rat out the couple,” … Thus – even though the defendant and the alleged victim want contact and are communicating amicably with each other by agreement, the defendant – not the alleged victim – is in violation of the Court order and are therefore subject to arrest.

There are obviously a number of ways to find yourself in violation of the Colorado Domestic Violence “No Contact” order which may end in very serious consequences. So how do you get the “No Contact” order lifted … so the couple can communicate and start torepair their relationship.

Lifting a Domestic Violence No Contact Order In Colorado – Under Colorado Law – “Coming Home”

Going Back To Court

Various cities and counties in Colorado have different methods of lifting the no contact order and the reader is directed to contact the DA or prosecutor’s office or the Court itself to learn which procedure applies to your case.   However, if you have retained a Colorado criminal defense lawyer – that lawyer can file a motion on behalf of either the defendant or the victim or both – to have the no contact order rescinded … that is .. removed or lifted!

If you have a no contact order in place in your Colorado domestic violence case, H. Michel Steinberg can go to court on your behalf and request to have the order modified. If the “motion to modify conditions of release” is granted, you will be allowed to once again have lawful contact with the alleged victim.

Getting the order modified is essential in avoiding a subsequent arrest for violating the “no contact” provision.  It may also be viewed as a first step toward reconciliation between the parties.

An Experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Knows How To Take The Proper Steps to Remove the “No Contact” Order

Our law firm will:

(1) Draft and then file in court a motion to modify the conditions of bond and to modify the restraining order.

(2) Schedule a “forthwith” or immediate hearing before the Colorado Court Judge responsible for the case.

The hearing takes place in the county courtroom assigned to the case.

Under Colorado’s Victim Bill of Rights

…. a Notice of the hearing must be sent to the alleged victim in your case. We will attend the hearing with you and request that the Judge modify your original conditions of release to delete the “No Contact” provision.

The Issues For the Hearing To Lift the No Contact Order

Factors that will be taken into consideration during the hearing for granting or denying the motion may include but are not limited to the following:

Has the no-contact order has been violated?

Have there been new law violations?

Has the defendant started Domestic Violence or other Anger Management related therapy?

If the motion comes AFTER sentencing – what was the Defendant’s compliance with sentencing conditions?

What are the status and nature of the criminal charges that are pending?

Does the protected person have a safety plan in place?

Will The Defendant Be Allowed To Move Back Home? – Interim Measures

Sometimes the Judge will take “interim measures” something less than fully lifting the no contact order. In these cases the Judge will consider options that allow contact under limited conditions in cases where domestic violence “risk factors” suggest minimal risk, where the alleged victim has requested contact and where there has been no evidence of coercion or intimidation

Here a Judge may:

• Limit the type of contact e.g. communication could be limited to email, letters or phone calls (subject to recording if possible) or to public places.

• Limit the topics of communication, e.g., discussions about children.

• Prohibit firearms possession.

• Request random drug testing when abuse is indicated.

• Request compliance with drug treatment and/or alcohol treatment programs.

• Or allow contact but exclude defendant from victim’s residence

If the Judge grants the defense lawyer’s motion “in toto” – the order will most likely permit full and unrestricted “lawful” contact. This means that the defendant would be allowed to move back in the residence you previously shared with the other party. It will still require no violation of the so called “standard” restraining order entered in all Colorado criminal cases.

Having My Lawyer Quickly Schedule a “Forthwith” Court Hearing

Our firm contacts the Judge assigned to the domestic violence division and request an expedited hearing be set immediately on the motion for contact. At the motion to lift the no contact order, we will provide the judge with information that supports the motion – such as testimony fromt he alleged victim that addresses the Judge’s concerns for his or her safety and the clear and unavoidable weaknesses in the DA’s case…. if that becomes appropriate.

Is the victim voluntarily appearing in court or are they being pressured by someone to support the motion to modify?

Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..

How To Lift A Colorado Domestic Violence No Contact Order

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the First 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior  prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.

In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.  Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2222.

If you have questions about How To Lift A Colorado Domestic Violence No Contact Order in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and to provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters.

In the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado adult and juvenile criminal matters.

 

Alleged Victims Of Colorado Domestic Violence Entitled To Major Benefits Under State and Federal Law

 

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Domestic Violence Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer Email the Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

Alleged Victims Of Colorado Domestic Violence Entitled To Major Benefits Under State and Federal Law – The “presumption of guilt” that follows a charge of a crime of domestic violence in Colorado and across the nation is unlike any other criminal charge in the criminal justice system.

Well before any kind of finding of guilt or innocence in these cases, an entire host of laws and services – commonly called “resources” kicks in for the “victims” of alleged domestic violence even before they are formally adjudicated AS VICTIMS.

The system presumes the accused is guilty and the alleged victim is – of course – telling the truth.

In a recent article I located from a group of researches in Canada – I found  what I consider to be the most coherent analysis of what has happened in the area of what I will call “domestic violence law.”

The Feminist Ideology of Domestic Violence And The Laws That Follow It

The view that is responsible for many of the laws protecting alleged victims of domestic violence is so one sided as to call into question the fundamental fairness of the treatment of tens of thousands of men across the country simply accursed of domestic violence.

Here is a LINK to – The Gender Paradigm in Domestic Violence Research and Theory: Part 1—the Conflict of Theory and Data – an important study about this issue the study and some excerpts from it:

Male violence in this country is always attributed to a broader social agenda.

As a result of this perspective, feminists tend to generalize about violent men, about men in general, and to ignore female pathology. As Dobash and Dobash (1979) put it, “Men who assault their wives are actually living up to cultural prescriptions that are cherished in Western society–aggressiveness, male dominance and female subordination–and they are using physical force as a means to enforce that dominance” (p. 24). Bograd (1988) defined feminist researchers as asking the fundamental question “Why do men beat their wives….

Feminists seek to understand why men in general use physical force against their partners and what functions this serves in a given historical context”.

In fact, the data demonstrate that while feminists are accurate in portraying abuse in intimate relationships as rampant, the reality is that most often both parties engage in aggression (Stets & Straus, 1992a, 1992b; Kessler et al., 2001, Nicholls & Dutton, 2001).

Feminism favors strong arrest policies and “intervention” rather than treatment (since treatment implies that society is less to blame) (Pence & Paymar, 1993). It is not clear how men are held individually responsible by feminism when patriarchy is to blame, nor how feminists account for differences in male populations in attitudes and acceptance of violence.

Among The Laws That Give The Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence An Overwhelming Presumption Of Truthfulness.

Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence Are Given Time Off From Work:

Time to testify at trial C.R.S. 24-4.1-303.

Time to seek a protection order, receive medical, mental health, or legal assistance, or secure your home C.R.S. 24-34-402.7.

If you feel you must leave your job because of safety concerns C.R.S. 8-73-108.

Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence Are Freely and Liberally Awarded Various Protection Orders

Mandatory protective order in criminal cases, including no contact orders C.R.S. 18-1-1001

Civil Protection Orders C.R.S. Title 13, Article 14

Employers obtaining protection orders C.R.S. 13-14-104.5 and C.R.S. 13-14-105 (1)(f).

Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence Are Entitled To Unemployment Benefits  

Unemployment benefits resulting from job termination due to domestic violence.) C.R.S. 8-73-108 (4)(r).

Domestic Abuse Discrimination in Health Care

Discrimination against domestic violence victims is prohibited (including by health insurance companies). C.R.S. 10-3-1104.8.

Domestic Violence Falls Under The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA)

Provision of a workplace free from recognized hazards 29 U.S.C. §654 (a)(1).

Required reporting by employers to OSHA regarding family member assault. 29 C.F.R. §1904.5.

Various Laws “Protect” Alleged Victims From “Sexual Harassment”

Acts of violence against men and women may violate state and/or federal anti-discrimination laws. 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3a.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (The ADA) Has Liberal Provisions Protecting Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence

Victims with injuries from domestic violence may fall within the parameters of the ADA. The ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees. 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.

So Does The Family Medical Leave Act

Requires up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for an employee to deal with own medical matters or those of a spouse, parent, or child’s serious medical condition. This applies to employers with 50 or more employees. 29 U.S.C. §2612 (a)(1).

And Of Course There Is The Ever Present Hand Of The Federal Government – The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The protections of the VAWA – which was re-authorized 2013.  Click here to view the Complete Act

Alleged Victims Of Colorado Domestic Violence Entitled To Major Benefits Under State and Federal Law

If you found any information I have provided on this web page article helpful please click my Plus+1 button below so that others may also find it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael SteinbergEmail The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article –Alleged Victims Of Colorado Domestic Violence Entitled To Major Benefits Under State and Federal Law, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article – Alleged Victims Of Colorado Domestic Violence Entitled To Major Benefits Under State and Federal Law.

Aggravated Harassment Law Struck Down

by H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Harassment Criminal Defense Lawyer – Email the Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com 5 mg levitra enough

New York’s Appellate Courts struck a blow for justice yesterday when they struck down a New York Harassment law called “aggravated harassment.” The Court held that speech that is merely annoying or alarming is not illegal – the Court ruled that the law was unconstitutionally vague and over broad on its face.

The law read that it was a felony to communicate with someone “in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”

In striking down the law – the higher court ruled that “any proscription of pure speech must be sharply limited to words which, by their utterance alone, inflict injury or tend naturally to evoke immediate violence.”

Colorado’s Harassment Law Is Often Charged In Weak Domestic Violence Cases

A common practice during arguments between married or committed individuals is to argue – to shout – to use epithets – to call or text ugly words. These common practices can become fodder for arrests by police officers compelled to decide if they violate Colorado’s Harassment Laws under 18-9-111.

…I have watched as harassment is routinely charged in the weakest, most vague and otherwise unchargeable cases. This charged is routinely called a “kitchen sink” crime like careless driving in the area of traffic cases. It is charged when there just isn’t anything else that you could be charged with. But the truth is this – if harassment is charged as “an act of domestic violence” what follows after the mandatory arrest – can be life changing -restraining orders, domestic violence treatment, probation, and the loss of second amendment rights.

Colorado Harassment Law – 18-9-111

In Colorado, harassment is charged when the police and the DA believe one of the following sections has been violated:

A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise touches a person or subjects him to physical contact; or

(b) In a public place directs obscene language or makes an obscene gesture to or at another person; or

(c) Follows a person in or about a public place; or

(e) Initiates communication with a person, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system that is obscene; or

(f) Makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate conversation; or

(g) Makes repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invade the privacy of another and interfere in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence or other private property; or

(h) Repeatedly insults, taunts, challenges, or makes communications in offensively coarse language to, another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.

(1.5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, “obscene” means a patently offensive description of ultimate sexual acts or solicitation to commit ultimate sexual acts, whether or not said ultimate sexual acts are normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, or excretory functions.

Colorado Domestic Violence Defense – Unveiling The ‘Real Abusers” and the “Real Victims”

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyer – Please Email the Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

Colorado Domestic Violence Defense – Unveiling The ‘Real Abusers” and the “Real Victims” – All experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers understand that our legal system’s treatment of abuse is absurd. Law enforcement officers called to the scene of alleged domestic violence are poorly trained to fully understand the depth and character of the deep seated psychological problems and issues that underlie even the most outwardly simple acts of domestic violence.

Sometimes things are not as they seem. If you are a patrol officer dispatched to the scene of an alleged act of domestic violence, you may not understand that the “striking person” may NOT the “real abuser” in the relationship.  If a psychologist was with you  (obviously not possible) he or she might tell you that the real abuser is the person that has the real control in the relationship … that person we would call the “psychological abuser.”

The Psychological Abuser

The “psychological abuser” is usually polite, stable, manipulative and non-aggressive outwardly. They are much better at maintaining control in all instances. when the response from the less capable of the two – the “striking abuser” loses control – the “psychological abuser” is in control. .

The outwardly aggressive abuser- the one the police arrest – is made by society and the courts – to believe that since they are the “attacker,” they are the real abuser in the relationship. It is true that the person arrested for domestic violence is usually the person who has lost control over their emotions (usually the man) and may in fact be the attacker outwardly. But – in some cases – the  act of domestic violence – that striking out – may NOT be about control over the other person – on the contrary it may be about frustration – from a lack of or a loss of control.

Domestic Violence “Science” Is Sometimes Simplistic AT Times And May Be Mistaken About Outward Aggression and Abusive Control

When you read the so called “research” about domestic violence research, we are told know that domestic abuse is fundamentally about control. In abusive relationships, violence is supposed to be a manifestation of control. It is used by the aggressor to established and maintain control.

Such a reading is driven by a gender bias against men. The assumption is that the attacker is always the “abuser,” – he is the one who holds greater power and control in the relationship. This is the kind of simplistic analysis that drives the cottage industry of domestic violence therapeutic interventions.

The existing control theory fails to take into account the etiology of the aggressor’s violence.

While it is true that some “abusers” (outward aggressors) strike to regain control…they are not always the “controlling party” in the relationship. While their actions may, on the surface, appear violent, inappropriate and outwardly abusive, their behavioral actions may be reflexive in nature.

Many “outward aggressors” mindlessly seek a level playing field in their intimate relationships. At the core, these individuals remain under the psychological control of their partners and the violence they display is the result of inadequate conflict resolution skills, rather than a pathological addiction to control.

Which Is The Real Abuse – A Slap, A Push, or Constant Mental and Psychological Abuse?

An abusive relationship may have one party as the verbal aggressor while the other is psychologically controlling. Both individuals are abusers and both are victims in their abusive relationship.

A successful approach to any domestic violence prosecution -if the prosecution is truly seeking justice – must act with sensitivity to the complexities in almost all intimate relationships. Labeling the outwardly violence partner as “the abuser” ignores the true dynamics in play here.

Justice Must Be Blind – Domestic Violence “Abuse” Dynamics Are Never Simple

The prosecutions of Colorado domestic violence cases often reveal what turn out to be mutually abusive relationships. Our system of justice must be gender neutral and not simplistic or reductionistic in it’s approach these cases.

Stakeholders in domestic violence cases – the alleged victim – the defendant – eyewitnesses – family members or friends – must all approach any domestic violence criminal case with honesty and sincerity if our system of justice is ever to truly bring an end to the huge numbers of these cases crushing our courthouses in Colorado and across the country.

Colorado’s Stalking Law – New Case Explores One Sentence For Alleged Multiple Acts

Colorado’s Stalking Law

By Colorado Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Attorney – for the defense of Stalking – Harassment Cases – H. Michael Steinberg

Colorado Stalking – Harassment Lawyer, C.R.S. 18-3-602 fo Felony Charges

Colorado’s Stalking Law presents as one of the most complex felonies alleging domestic violence in the state. The law itself is vague – confusing – and difficult to understand. However a 2010 Colorado Court of Appeals case People v. Demetrius Herron – not only clarifies the law – but carefully analyzes when and how an individual comes under this ambiguous law.

The Herron case held that a prosecutor could not “trump up” a single alleged crime of stalking into multiple convictions ending with multiple punishments and therefore enhanced sentencing.

Colorado’s Stalking Law
Colorado’s Stalking Law

Colorado’s Stalking laws fit into basically two categories:

Credible Threat Stalking – § 18-3-602 (1)( a )

and

Emotional Distress Stalking, § 18-3-602 (1)( c )

The issue in the case People v. Herron was whether the DA – could seek to “split” an individual charged with Stalking into multiple convictions with multiple punishments if convicted. The Colorado Court of Appeals said no.

The Stalking Law  in Colorado – And The Law Against Multiplicity of Punishments

Multiplicity is “the charging of multiple counts and the imposition of multiple punishments for the same criminal conduct.” In Colorado – unless the criminal law in question is expressly authorized by the General Assembly to permit multiple punishments, then multiplicitous convictions violate the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Colorado Constitutions. U.S. Const. amend. V; Colo. Const. art. II, § 18;

Therefore – when the issue in Herron reached the court of appeals – the court’s analysis in addressing a multiplicity challenge was to analyze the origins of the Colorado Stalking Law and determine whether the General Assembly’s definition of the crime charged encompasses a continuous course of conduct and to further determine whether the allowable “unit of prosecution” permitted multiple punishments.

Specifically the court looked at “the manner in which a criminal statute permits a defendant’s conduct to be divided into discrete acts for purposes of prosecuting multiple offenses.”

Stalking Is ONE Act – One Continuous Course Of Conduct

In scrutinizing the law to determine the “unit of prosecution,” the Court looked at how the law was designed.

Here Is Colorado’s Stalking Law (2013 Version) Also Known As Vonnie’s Law – With Bracketed Comments

§18-3-602. Stalking – penalty – definitions – Vonnie’s law

(1) A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly through another person, the person knowingly:

[The Law Outlines Three Basic Ways To Commit The Crime]

(a) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or

(b) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; or

(c) Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress. For purposes of this paragraph (c), a victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.

(2) For the purposes of this part 6:

[These are the important definitions that help explain the Stalking law]

(a) Conduct in connection with” a credible threat means acts that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose, and may occur before, during, or after the credible threat.

(b) “Credible threat” means a threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for the person’s safety or the safety of his or her immediate family or of someone with whom the person has or has had a continuing relationship. The threat need not be directly expressed if the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person such fear.

(c) “Immediate family” includes the person’s spouse and the person’s parent, grandparent, sibling, or child.

(d) “Repeated” or “repeatedly” means on more than one occasion.

(3) A person who commits stalking:

(a) Commits a class 5 felony for a first offense except as otherwise provided in subsection (5) of this section; or

(b) Commits a class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense, if the offense occurs within seven years after the date of a prior offense for which the person was convicted.

(4) Stalking is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to the modified presumptive sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-401(10).

[New – Section – Enhanced Sentencing If A Restraining Order Is In Place]

(5) If, at the time of the offense, there was a temporary or permanent protection order, injunction, or condition of bond, probation, or parole or any other court order in effect against the person, prohibiting the behavior described in this section, the person commits a class 4 felony.

(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or diminish the inherent authority of the court to enforce its orders through civil or criminal contempt proceedings; however, before a criminal contempt proceeding is heard before the court, notice of the proceedings shall be provided to the district attorney for the judicial district of the court where the proceedings are to be heard and the district attorney for the judicial district in which the alleged act of criminal contempt occurred. The district attorney for either district shall be allowed to appear and argue for the imposition of contempt sanctions.

(7) A peace officer shall have a duty to respond as soon as reasonably possible to a report of stalking and to cooperate with the alleged victim in investigating the report.

(8) (a) When a person is arrested for an alleged violation of this section, the fixing of bail for the crime of stalking shall be done in accordance with section 16-4-103(2) (d), C.R.S., and a protection order shall issue in accordance with section 18-1-1001(5).

(b) This subsection (8) shall be known and may be cited as “Vonnie’s law“.

(9) When a violation under this section is committed in connection with a violation of a court order, including but not limited to any protection order or any order that sets forth the conditions of a bond, any sentences imposed pursuant to this section and pursuant to section 18-6-803.5 or any sentence imposed in a contempt proceeding for violation of the court order shall be served consecutively and not concurrently.

“Stalking” Cannot Be Separated Into More Than One “Unit” Of Continuous Conduct – One Crime

The Herron Court held that:

“We conclude from the plain words of the statute that the legislatively defined unit of prosecution for the crime of stalking is a continuous course of conduct by which one repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places another under surveillance. “

It is a “single crime for which the General Assembly has not authorized multiple punishments.”

The Court made it clear that acts constituting stalking, such as following, approaching, contacting, or placing another under surveillance, have to be performed “repeatedly.” To be convicted of a second stalking offense, a defendant must complete a separate transaction that is factually distinct from the first, on at least two more occasions.

One Last Point – The Defendant Need Not “Know” That His – Her Actions Caused The Alleged Victim to Suffer Serious Emotional Distress

Juries decide whether the emotional distress was caused by the accused and whether the “serious emotional distress” meets the objective “reasonable person” standard to measure whether the emotional distress inflicted upon the victim was actually “serious” or just annoying.

The mental state almost always applies to all of the “elements” of a crime unless the legislative intent is to limit its application. The Colorado State General Assembly has stated that since a stalker may be oblivious to reality of the emotional distress he or she is causing,….”it would be absurd to allow a defendant so out-of-touch with reality to avoid criminal prosecution.”

Therefore – the mental state for this crime is “knowingly” but this mental state does not apply to the element that the alleged stalker be aware that his or her conduct would cause serious emotional distress to a reasonable person.

WARNING – If You Are Under Investigation For Felony Stalking In Colorado

Stalking in Colorado is a felony – the impact of a felony on one’s life can not be understated. The crime itself is difficult for the prosecution to prove because of the very ambiguous nature of the offense. Local police which try – then – in the guise of conducting their investigation – to obtain admissions on the part of the “target” – you – that place you in certain locations – making certain phone calls – sending certain texts.. Our advice – exercise your Miranda rights – remain silent – and call an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer as soon as practicable.

Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..

Colorado’s Stalking Law

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the first 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.

In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the criminal trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations. Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277.

If you have questions about Colorado’s Stalking Laws in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and will also provide quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado with adult and juvenile criminal matters as regards ..Colorado’s Stalking Law.