University of Colorado running back, Terrence Crowder, was arrested on domestic violence charges over the weekend. Crowder’s girlfriend alleged that Crowder threw small rocks at her, tripped her and rubbed mud in her hair. Based on these allegations, Crowder was charged with third degree assault, a class one misdemeanor, and harassment, a class three misdemeanor. Crowder was released on a $1000 personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to appear in court on October 1 according to the Boulder Daily Camera.
Domestic violence is not an actual charge, but rather a designation. When a person is arrested for an act of domestic violence, regardless of whether that “act” is assault, harassment or something less significant, the person is held on a no bond hold until a mandatory protection order enters. After the mandatory protection order enters, the judge may set a bond. Acts of domestic violence are protected by the Victim’s Rights Act, which means the alleged victim of the act of domestic violence has a right to be consulted and informed regarding the case. This does not mean the alleged victim controls the outcome of the case, but the prosecutor has an obligation to communicate with the victim.
For a person charged with acts of domestic violence, it may be a good thing that the victim does not have the final say as to how the case should be resolved, but similarly, if an alleged victim does not want a person to be in trouble, the victim’s request to drop charges does not always result in a dismissal. The prosecuting attorney is the one who has the authority to dismiss a case without going to trial. This is not, however, to say that prosecuting attorneys do not listen to victims or take their wishes into consideration, but rather, to say that the alleged victim does not have the ability to drop charges once a case has been filed.