What is a Domestic Violence Enhancer?

Domestic Violence Enhancer

Domestic violence enhancer is a legal term used to describe behaviors intended to cause harm, injury, or distress to a former or current intimate partner. It is used to add context to a variety of criminal offenses.

Colorado and Wisconsin do not recognize domestic violence as a criminal offense in its own right. Instead it is regarded as a sentence enhancer that adds context to various other crimes as an indicator of the perpetrator’s intention to frighten, intimidate or coerce the recipient of the abuse.

“In Colorado, domestic violence is not a separate charge, but rather something that can enhance sentencing, “explains Casey Krizman, a Criminal Defense Attorney, “In other words, you are unable to be convicted of domestic violence without being convicted of some other crime.”

Acts of aggression associated with domestic violence enhancers can be psychological or physical. It can be attached to any criminal offense, including assault, harassment, stalking, theft, trespassing, crimnal mischief, disorderly conduct, and property damage. While domestic violence is not illegal in its own right in Colorado and Wisconsin, attaching a domestic violence enhancer to a crime can significantly impact the severity of the punishment. 

The state of Colorado issues mandatory protection orders is all cases with domestic violence enhancers to safeguard recipients of the abuse from more criminal acts from the alleged perpetrators. Moreover, a domestic violence enhancer helps move such cases more swiftly through the legal system.

Domestic violence enhancers prevent alleged perpetrators from re-entering a shared residence with an at-risk intimate partner. Alleged perpetrators charged with crimes with domestic violence enhancers are prohibited from having contact with the minor children they share with the recipient of the abuse.

Manya Wakefield is an educator and recovery coach specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma. She is also the author of 'Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?' and host of the Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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