Fast Track Domestic Violence Program
When police respond to a domestic violence call, they will investigate to determine if they have “Probable Cause” (facts or circumstances that indicate to a reasonable person that a crime has been committed) that a misdemeanor crime has been committed. Colorado state law requires that if the person (Defendant) who committed the crime is on scene, he/she is arrested and brought into Westminster Municipal Court at 9:30 a.m. the next business day. The Defendant will be held at the County Jail without bond until their first court appearance. The victim is given a subpoena to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. to meet with the Victim Advocate. This rrogram is referred to as the Domestic Violence Fast Track Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is “Fast Track Domestic Violence” program? It is called “fast track” because when a person is arrested on scene, they are taken into custody and brought to court the next business day.
Why have this type of program? Statistics show that one of the most powerful deterrents for domestic violence perpetrators is the immediate consequence of jail. Intervention in a swift manner stops the violence and prohibits the offender from attempting to influence the victim.
What is the purpose of the fast-track program? It helps to ensure the Victim is safe and knows what his/her options are. It also gives the defendant an opportunity to get help to change his/her behavior.
Is the victim pressing the charges? NO. Once the Officer determines probable cause, the city is actually pressing charges against the defendant.
Can the victim get the case dismissed? NO. Only the city prosecutor can dismiss a case, and can only do so if they have a legal reason, not because the Victim does not want the defendant prosecuted. This is meant to remove the burden of prosecuting the case from the victim.
Will the defendant have to do active jail time? Sometimes. The decision is always made by the judge, and if the incident is aggravated (Victim has injuries, or occurred in front of children), or if the defendant is a repeat offender, the judge may decide jail time is appropriate.
Will the judge issue a “Protection Order”? Usually. If the victim requests one, the court will definitely issue a Protection Order (PO). The city prosecutor may request the court to issue a PO, or the Judge may determine a PO is necessary and issue a PO even if the Victim does not want one.