As this blog has discussed before, a domestic violence conviction in Colorado can have a number of negative consequences far beyond the usual probation, fines and jail time.

These so-called collateral consequences can profoundly impact even a first-time offender who has in all other respects lived an upstanding life.

One example of how domestic violence convictions can affect residents of the Fort Collins area pertains to the allocation of parental responsibilities, which is still commonly referred to as child custody and visitation.

Basically, if a parent winds up getting convicted of a crime related to domestic violence, then it is likely that the judge overseeing his family law matter will also find that he has engaged in domestic violence. It should be noted on this point that it does not matter whether the child was around when the alleged domestic violence occurred.

A finding like this means spells several negative consequences for a Colorado parent. For one, the judge will automatically assume that it is not in the best interests of his children that he share decision-making authority with the other parent. This means the other parent will call all the shots when it comes to important decisions in a child’s life.

Perhaps more importantly, the judge’s focus at that point will be on the safety of the child and the alleged victim of domestic violence. This means that a parent should prepare for the real possibility of his parenting time being restricted in some significant way, including an order for supervised visits only.

Domestic violence convictions have far-reaching implications, which is just one more reason why a person accused of these sorts of crimes should strongly consider speaking with experienced legal counsel to evaluate her options.