Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Habitual Domestic Violence Offender Law Gets View by COA

The Colorado Court of Appeals this week, in People v. Vigil, ruled that the rarely-used Habitual Domestic Violence Offender law, enacted over a decade ago, requires that charges filed under the law be prosecuted as felonies, even if the underlying offense is a misdemeanor.  The HDVO law provides that a misdemeanor offense charged as an Act of Domestic Violence, when preceeded by three or more convictions for Acts of Domestic Violence, becomes a Class 5 felony offense, punishable by sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections.  Because the defendant in Vigil was not given the process afforded a person charged with a felony, namely trial before a district court judge and a jury of twelve persons, the COA reversed his conviction and remanded the case for trial in the proper court with the proper jury panel.

Criminal cases can be complicated, both factually and legally, and require the attention of an attorney experienced in this area of the law to ensure that the proper procedure is followed and, when it is not, that the matter is properly preserved for review by the appellate courts.

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