Have you been accused of child abuse or neglect in Colorado Springs? A conviction could have life-changing consequences for you and your family, so finding the right defense attorney is essential. The Colorado Springs lawyers at Peakstone Law Group, LLC, have considerable experience handling these cases. We stand ready to help you prepare a strong legal defense to protect your rights.
To learn more about your options, please contact our firm
What Is Considered Child Abuse in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) § 18-6-401 sets forth violations and penalties related to child abuse in Colorado. At its most basic, child abuse occurs when someone inflicts harm upon a child under the age of 16, knowingly places a child in a potentially harmful situation, or engages in neglectful behaviors that result in malnourishment, cruel punishment, mistreatment, injury, or death of a child.
The law is expansive and vague, so numerous scenarios can result in child abuse charges. Importantly, child abuse can occur even when a child does not experience physical harm. A custodial interference case may be one example of this.
Common examples of situations and behaviors that might lead to accusations of child abuse include:
- Injuring a child in a way that threatens their life or health, including by spanking
- Knowingly putting a child in a situation that puts their life or health at risk
- Physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually abusing a child
- Mistreating, malnourishing, neglecting, or cruelly punishing a child
- Failing to adequately provide for a child’s basic needs, including medical needs
- Facilitating the infibulation, excision, or other genital mutilation of a child when no legitimate medical need for the procedure exists
- Manufacturing certain types of controlled substances in the presence of a child or knowingly allowing the child to be present when someone else is doing so
- Committing domestic violence or using illegal substances in a child’s presence
- Leaving a child unattended in a home or vehicle
- Driving a motor vehicle under the influence with a child present
- Failing to report suspicions of child abuse
There is often a thin line between legitimate acts of child abuse and unfortunate incidents for which a child is present. Some child abuse charges arise when parents believe they are administering acceptable punishments or leave children unattended because they seem mature enough for the responsibility. Often, the only difference between bringing a criminal charge or not is the opinion of an investigating officer or prosecutor who doesn’t have all the facts.
Colorado Child Abuse Laws
Colorado courts may prosecute child abuse as either a misdemeanor or felony offense based on the factors involved. Generally, two key factors impact whether a child abuse offense is considered a misdemeanor or felony. The first is the nature and severity of any harm to the child. The second is the mental state of the person accused of the offenses.
For instance, here are the legal classifications for the following offenses:
- Knowingly or recklessly engaging in child abuse that causes the death of a child is a class 2 felony unless the child was under the age of 12 at the time of their death, which is considered first-degree murder.
- Acting with criminal negligence that results in a child’s death is a class 3 felony.
- Knowingly or recklessly engaging in child abuse that results in serious bodily injury to a child is a class 4 felony.
- Knowingly or recklessly engaging in child abuse that results in non-serious bodily injury is a class 1 misdemeanor unless aggravating circumstances apply.
- Acting with criminal negligence that results in non-serious bodily injury to a child is a class 2 misdemeanor unless aggravating circumstances apply.
How Serious Is a Child Abuse Charge?
The severity of child abuse charges in Colorado Springs vary considerably based on several factors, including:
- Reckless endangerment vs. criminal negligence – Child abuse that occurs knowingly or recklessly is considered reckless endangerment, while child abuse that occurs due to neglect is a form of criminal negligence. Child abuse offenses involving reckless endangerment are usually more severe.
- The level of harm to the child – Child abuse that results in serious bodily injury or death to a child is usually prosecuted more harshly than abuse resulting in minor injuries.
- The age of the child – Colorado law includes sentence enhancers that increase the severity of child abuse penalties in certain circumstances, including when someone in a position of trust knowingly causes the death of a child under the age of 12.
Defenses to Allegations of Child Abuse in Colorado Springs
A child abuse conviction could result in loss of parenting privileges, steep fines, prison time, and other repercussions in your personal and professional life. At Peakstone Law Group, LLC, our Colorado Springs criminal defense team can help you build a solid legal strategy based on possible defenses like:
- You thought you were exercising reasonable parental discipline
- The allegations of abusive or neglectful behavior are false
- The child got hurt because of something other than child abuse
- Your actions were based on your legitimate religious beliefs
- Law enforcement failed to follow proper procedures in handling your case
How Our Lawyers Help People Accused of Child Abuse
If you have been accused of child abuse, don’t panic. Our Colorado Springs defense attorneys understand what’s at stake in your case. We stand ready to fight relentlessly to protect your rights.
When you work with our Colorado child abuse defense lawyers, you can expect us to go above and beyond by providing around-the-clock availability, customized legal services, and compassionate advocacy from day one. No matter the severity of the charges you are facing, we’re here to help.
Contact Our Child Abuse Defense Lawyers in Colorado Springs
Need to discuss your case with a child abuse defense attorney? Then reach out to Peakstone Law Group, LLC. We can help you defend your character and pursue the best outcome possible for your case. Time is of the essence, so don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation session.