When it comes to child abuse charges, it often feels as if “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply. Many people accused of child abuse face quick and devastating collateral consequences. Allegations can often affect a person’s marriage, their standing in the community, employment, and possibly their professional license. Plus, a person charged with a type of child abuse could even lose their child or children through a DHS proceeding as a result of the allegations.
Unfortunately, the penalties don’t stop there. A conviction for child abuse can yield serious penalties including a potential prison sentence and expensive court fines. If you or someone you know has been charged or is being investigated for child abuse, we urge you to contact an experienced Denver child abuse and neglect attorney as soon as possible.
Child Abuse Denver Defense Lawyer, CO
Child abuse is defined very broadly by Colorado law. Although there are many degrees of child abuse, all of them carry a negative connotation that can impact your ability to see your children or to obtain employment. If you are accused of child abuse, please contact a defense attorney at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. immediately BEFORE talking to the police or department of human services. If you have already been charged or ticketed for child abuse, now is the time to hire a skilled lawyer such as Matthew Martin, who has a proven track record of getting these cases dismissed.
You need an experienced attorney as soon as possible to defend you so that your rights as a parent are not taken away. DHS will be working to take your kids away from you, so you need to act quickly. Set up your first consultation with Matthew Martin by calling his offices at (303) 725-0017. His offices can be found in Denver, Colorado, but accepts clients throughout the area including Douglas County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and Broomfield County.
- What is the Definition of Child Abuse in Colorado?
- Examples of Child Abuse in Colorado
- How Much Jail Time for Child Abuse in Colorado?
- Additional Resources
What is the Definition of Child Abuse in Colorado?
The term “child abuse” is thrown around on the nightly news and television programs to the point the definition of it is rather vague. However, the legal definition for child abuse under Colorado law is very specific. The state of Colorado defines child abuse as one of the following:
- Allowing a child to be in an unreasonable situation involving substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death
- Causing injury, serious injury, or death to a child
- Permitting or conducting genital mutilation or female circumcision on a child
- The child is near or allowed near illegal drug manufacturers and certain controlled substances under Colorado law
- The child is subjected to a continuous pattern of abuse that causes the child to:
- Become malnourished
- Be without proper medical treatment or care
- Face cruel punishment
- Become mistreated
- Sustain serious injury or die as a result of systematic abuse
Examples of Child Abuse in Colorado
The statute for child abuse in Colorado covers a variety of situations. Some scenarios may not traditionally be thought of as child abuse but can still result in criminal charges. Listed below are some examples of child abuse in the state of Colorado.
- Manufacturing illegal drugs in a dwelling where the child resides
- Facing DUI or DWAI charges with a child as a passenger
- Leaving a child on their own including leaving them alone in the car
- Hitting a child with a belt or stick
- Not allowing them to eat or receive medical care as a punishment
- Tying up a child for any length of time
- Locking a child up in a room for an extended period of time
How Much Jail Time for Child Abuse in Colorado?
The penalties for child abuse are dependent on the unique facts of the case and if the child sustained a serious injury or died as a result of the abuse. If the abuse didn’t result in the child’s serious injury or death, then you’ll face a class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 18 months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
The crime may be enhanced to a class 5 felony if one of the following is proven by the court.
- You were convicted of child abuse in the past or a relatable offense
- You were in a position of trust and:
- Ensured the child did not have access to medical treatment or care
- Committed a pattern of domestic violence in front of the child
- Subjected the child to repeat threats of injury or death
- Deprived the child of reasonable hygiene and forced them to live in unsanitary conditions
- Deprived the child of food so they were malnourished over time
- You locked the child up or isolated them in a cruel manner
The court considers you to be in a position of trust with the child if you were in charge of their health, education, happiness, or welfare. Most persons of trust charged with child abuse are the parents of the child. However, that definition can extend outside the family including the child’s teachers, counselors, and coaches.
The maximum penalty for a class 5 felony includes the following:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- A fine of up to $100,000
Instances of neglect where the child dies as a result is a class 3 felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 16 years in prison
- A fine of up to $750,000
If you knowingly or recklessly caused the child to suffer from a serious bodily injury, then your crime will be reclassified to a class 3 felony. The maximum sentencing for a class 3 felony includes the following:
- Up to 24 years in prison
- A fine of up to $1 million
Child abuse that results in the death of a child will result in lifelong penalties. Child abuse is considered first-degree murder if the child was under the age of 12, you were in a position of trust with that child, and you knowingly caused their death. The maximum penalty for child abuse resulting in first-degree murder is life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.
Illuminate Colorado | Better Brighter Childhoods – Visit the official website for the non-profit organization known as Illuminate Colorado. Access the site to learn more about their mission to prevent child maltreatment by addressing systemic and multi-sector issues that are affecting the development and well-being of children.
Colorado Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline | CO4Kids – Visit the official website for the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, 844-CO-4-KIDS, to learn more about their mission to protect Colorado’s kids. Access the site to learn more about child abuse laws in Colorado, how to be mandatory reporter, information about foster care and adoption, and other information.
Denver Attorney for Child Abuse Charges
If you’ve been accused or are facing an investigation for child abuse, get in contact with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.. He can assess all facts of the case and develop a defense that will undermine the prosecution. With over 13 years as a prosecutor, Matthew Martin knows what they look for and what it takes to poke holes in the state’s argument. Set up your first consultation now to learn more about all your legal options.
Whether you are under investigation or have already been arrested, please call (303) 725-0017 now. The faster you retain an attorney, the better off you will be. Our offices can be found in Denver Colorado.