Child Abuse Defense Lawyer in Colorado Springs
Committed to Aggressive & Tenacious Legal Representation
If you have been charged with child abuse, you may feel frightened and fearful for your future. You need an experienced Colorado Springs child abuse defense attorney who can explain the charges and help you obtain a favorable outcome in court.
The legal team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC is highly knowledgeable in this area and can help you put forward a strong and customized legal defense, even up to and including trying your case at trial. Reach out today for a free case evaluation.
What Is Considered Child Abuse in Colorado Springs
Child abuse is harming a child under 16 years old or putting a child in any situation that is potentially harmful.
The Colorado criminal code lists many actions and scenarios that can constitute child abuse, including but not limited to:
- Causing an injury to a child’s life or health, including psychological abuse
- Placing a child in a situation that poses a threat to their health or life
- Failure to provide medical care
- Cruel punishment
- Accumulation of injuries that result in serious bodily injury or death
- Female genital mutilation
- Sexual abuse
- Manufacturing certain controlled substances in the presence of a child
Child Abuse Can Be a Misdemeanor or a Felony
As outlined above in “Child Abuse Penalties,” child abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference between the two can affect your entire future. Not only may you face heavy fines and prison time, but you may also have a difficult time finding employment or securing housing with a serious conviction in your past. That’s why it’s essential to work with an experienced attorney who can advise you during the court process and help you obtain the least damaging outcome in a trial.
Child Abuse Penalties
Child abuse penalties in Colorado can vary widely, depending on the age of the child involved, whether the convicted abuser acted knowingly, recklessly, or negligently, and if the abuse caused injury or death. What constitutes child abuse and the related penalties are outlined in the Colorado criminal code under Colorado Revised Statute 18-6-401 (Universal Citation).
First-degree murder may be charged if the child was under 12 years of age, if you were in a position of trust (such as a parent, grandparent, or caregiver), and if you knowingly caused the child’s death.
This can carry a penalty of:
- Life imprisonment or
- Death sentence
Class 2 Felony
A class 2 felony conviction can occur when someone knowingly or recklessly engages in child abuse that results in death.
This can result in:
- A fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000 and/or
- 8-24 years in prison
Class 3 Felonies
Negligent child abuse that results in the child’s death is considered a class 3 felony.
Penalties can be:
- A fine of $3,000 to $750,000 and/or
- A prison sentence of 4-16 years
Serious bodily injury as part of negligent felony child abuse is also a class 3 felony in Colorado. This is when child abuse committed knowingly or recklessly results in serious bodily injury.
The consequences for this include:
- A fine of $3,000 to $750,000 and/or
- 4-16 years in prison
Class 4 Felony
A child who is seriously injured as the result of criminal negligence makes the crime a class 4 felony.
This is subject to:
- A fine of $2,000 to $500,000 and/or
- 2-8 years in prison
Class 5 Felony
Sometimes, child abuse that would normally be a misdemeanor can become a class 5 felony if the accused has a prior conviction for child abuse and when the circumstances of the abuse meet certain criteria.
The penalty for this is:
- A fine of $1,000 to $100,000 and/or
- 1-5 years in prison
Child abuse that is minor or inflicts no injury in Colorado, when committed knowingly or recklessly, can result in:
- A fine of $250 to $1,000 and/or
- 3-18 months in jail
Acting with criminal negligence can carry:
- A fine of $50 to $750 and/or
- Up to one year in jail
What’s the Difference Between Acceptable Punishment Vs. Child Abuse?
The difference between acceptable punishment versus child abuse can be confusing, even within the legal community.
Did you know that any of the following can be considered child abuse?
- Spanking a child
- Leaving a child unattended in a home or vehicle
- Driving a child in a motor vehicle while under the influence
- Exposing a child to controlled substances or illegal recreational drugs
- Committing domestic violence in a child’s presence
- Failure to report suspicion of child abuse
Because there is such a thin line between the two, your case may come down to having a child abuse defense lawyer who can put your unique case in the best light, especially when it comes to issues like spanking.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting
In some cases, you may be facing child abuse charges because someone reported you on suspicion of child abuse.
You may also be facing charges for failure to report suspected child abuse if you are a:
- Private or public school employee (teacher, coach, or administrator)
- Healthcare provider (physician, nurse, dentist, etc.)
- Mental health practitioner
- Child care provider
- Social worker
- Law enforcement officer
- Firefighter or emergency medical responder
- Religious leader
Contact a Colorado Springs Child Abuse Defense Lawyer for Help
As you can see from the above, the definition of child abuse and the resultant penalties can be confusing and hinge on subtleties of the situation and how the law interprets it. Therefore, it is imperative to hire an attorney with the experience you need to protect your rights and ensure you get the thorough representation you deserve.
Founding attorney Patterson Weaver has the knowledge and experience you need and will fight to give you the defense you’re entitled to in court. A former prosecutor, Patterson Weaver heads a team of legal professionals who can keep you in the loop and potentially improve your outcome by obtaining reduced charges, reduced sentencing, and/or a sealed case at the end. The firm’s case results and testimonials speak to clients’ satisfaction with their representation from Patterson Weaver Law, LLC.
If you or a loved one has been accused of child abuse, do not wait to get in touch with an attorney. Call today at (719) 215-8049. We are here to help you navigate this difficult time.