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Study: Domestic violence laws may accidentally target victims

Colorado attempted to really crack down on domestic violence back in 1994, creating a new set of laws that would provide harsh punishments for those accused.

For instance, a night in jail is sometimes mandatory, even for those who just want to pay bail, and property damage can sometimes trigger domestic violence charges even if no one was harmed. This can strap a person with the label of "domestic violence offender", and he or she then needs to go to treatment and put up with monitoring -- two services designed to prevent future incidents. However, this feel like an unneeded punishment to someone who considers himself or herself the victim.

Many critics of the laws note that simple acts like smashing a cellphone can now trigger an arrest. For instance, if a spouse finds text messages on the other spouse's phone showing that he or she had an affair, that person may throw the phone across the room in a sudden emotional outburst. Technically, that property damage could get the person arrested and labeled as an abuser over that one event, which many people feel is unfair.

One expert said she knew a woman who found out that her husband was cheating on her. She did minor damage to some items that he owned when she found out. As a result, her entire career path ended -- she wanted to work with children and was no longer allowed to do so -- because she was convicted of domestic violence.

As you can see, the ramifications of a conviction, even for the smallest of acts, can be incredible under Colorado's strict laws. That's why you must know your legal options when facing any allegations.

Source: Westword, "Colorado's Domestic-Violence Laws Sometimes Abuse the Victim, Study Says," Alan Prendergast, accessed March 29, 2018

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