Child Abuse Defense Attorney in Denver, CO
A person commits child abuse if such person causes an injury to a child’s life or health, or permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, or engages in a continued pattern of conduct that results in malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries that ultimately results in the death of a child or serious bodily injury to a child, as per CRS 18-6-401(1)(a).
The penalties for child abuse have a significant range depending on if the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. A second charge of Child Abuse after a prior conviction is charged as a class 5 felony.
By law, physicians, church administrators, counselors, psychologists, teachers, and many other professions are mandatory reporters of any suspicion of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.
Regardless if there is some legitimacy to the charge, or it is a false accusation of child abuse, it can be one of the most harrowing experiences in a person’s life. Their future with children may be at stake, especially if the charge is against a parent or trusted adult. For this reason, if a person is accused of child abuse, in any form, they should talk to a criminal defense attorney so they may better understand the charges, the potential consequences and how to defend against the accusations.
When Would a Person Need a Child Abuse Attorney in Denver?
If you have been accused, you should not answer any questions until your criminal defense attorney has given you advice about your charges.
Because of the serious nature of child abuse allegations, law enforcement officers and social service workers will want to interview the accused. However, the accused may incriminate themselves during the investigation. The interviewer may ask leading or vague questions in an attempt to examine the facts of the incident. It is in your best interest to have the advice of a criminal defense attorney to know what you can and cannot say, in addition to what you should and should not say.
A criminal defense attorney’s advice will guide you through the investigation and court processes with your best interest in mind during an overwhelming time.. Child abuse charges can have serious consequences, including loss of custody, prison time, expensive fees and/or lengthy classes to prevent reoccurrence. So, it is in your best interest to take child abuse charges seriously.
Types of Child Abuse and Their Related Penalties
Child Abuse (Knowingly)
A person acts “knowingly” they are aware that their conduct is practically certain to cause the result. A person who knowingly commits child abuse if they knew or should have known that their action could have caused injury or death to a child. This can include physical abuse, mental abuse or even drinking and driving with the child present in the vehicle.
Child Abuse (Reckless)
A person acts “recklessly” if they consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustified risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists. A person recklessly commits child abuse if their actions endangered the child by putting them in a situation that posed the threat of injury or death to the child. This includes engaging in ongoing conduct that led to malnourishment, lack of medical care, continued mistreatment, etc. that resulted in injury to or death of the child.
Child Abuse (Criminal Negligence)
A person acts “neglectful” when their conduct is a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, that person fails to perceive a substantial and unjustified risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists. This includes placing a child in a harmful environment such as where drugs are being manufactured or where a known abuser may be.
Consequences for Criminal Child Abuse – What are the penalties under CRS 18-6-401?
Colorado law defines child abuse as harming a minor under 16 or placing that minor in harm’s way. The consequences for child abuse vary based on the victim’s age, whether the defendant acted recklessly, negligently, or knowingly, and whether the abuse led to a child being injured and the degree of that injury (up to death).
If no serious injury results, child abuse is a misdemeanor carrying up to 18 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. Otherwise, child abuse is a felony carrying 2 to 16 years in prison and/or $2,000 to $750,000 in fines.
Could include up to 3 to 18 months in jail, and/or fines of $250 to $1,000.
However, if the defendant acted with criminal negligence. The penalties are:
Up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of $50 to $750.
Felony Class 2: Defendant acted knowingly or recklessly, child abuse that results in death.
Penalties: Could includer up to 8 to 24 years in prison, and/or fines of $5,000 to $1,000,000.
Felony Class 3: Defendant acted negligently.
Penalties: Could include up to 4 to 16 years in prison, and/or fines of $3,000 to $750,000.
Felony Class 4: Defendant acted with criminal negligence.
Penalties: Could include up to 2 to 8 years in prison, and/or fines of $2,000 to $500,000.
Felony Class 5: The defendant has a prior conviction for abuse of a minor in any state or territory of the United States, or the defendant was in a position of trust to the child and the child in the care is malnourished, make repeated threats of harm to the child, commit acts of domestic violence, participate in continuous behavior of cruel punishment.
Penalties: Could include up to 1 to 5 years in prison, and/or fines of $1,000 to $100,000.
Why You Need an Experienced Child Abuse Defense Attorney
GLaw Defense has decades of experience successfully defending individuals charged with all forms and degrees of child abuse. Because of the potential consequences, you need to work with an experienced team of attorneys who will not jump to conclusions but will listen to you, investigate all aspects of the allegations, and then create a sophisticated legal strategy to protect your rights and properly defend you.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Colorado, contact one of our experienced GLaw Defense Attorneys at (303) 205-8495. Or, schedule a free consultation by clicking the link below.