Grand Junction Child Abuse Defense Lawyers
Child abuse is an extremely serious crime. Even an accusation is enough to tear a family apart and put your reputation as a parent in jeopardy. You must mount a proactive and comprehensive defense right away. A conviction for child abuse can have a devastating impact on your life for decades to come.
If you have been accused of child abuse on the Western Slope, Peters & Nolan, LLC, can help. Our experienced Grand Junction domestic violence attorneys believe every person is entitled to a strong defense in a court of law, and we’ll do everything we can to protect you from unfair prosecution. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 for a free and confidential evaluation.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-6-401, it’s possible to be charged with child abuse when a 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.”
This is a broad definition, which provides law enforcement with a great deal of leeway when deciding whether or not to bring charges. For the purposes of the law, a child is anyone under the age of 16. Actions that could lead to arrest for child abuse include the following:
- Severe shaking
- Drug use during pregnancy
- DUI with a child in the vehicle
- Withholding of medicine or necessary medical treatment
- Malnourishment of a child
- Any other intentional physical act that leads to physical harm of the child
Many parents want to know if it’s legal to spank or physically discipline their children in Colorado. Parents are allowed to use physical punishments such as a spanking, as long as they are reasonable and appropriate to the extent necessary to promote discipline or the welfare of the child. While this is a subjective standard, in general, if a spanking leads to an injury, it will likely be viewed as excessive.
Colorado law makes protecting children a high priority, and thus has severe penalties for anyone convicted of child abuse. The penalties vary depending on the severity of the injury suffered by the child, whether the accused is a repeat offender, and whether the accused acted in a “reckless” manner or with “criminal negligence.”
Even in cases where the abuse results in no injury or a minor injury due to reckless actions rather than intent, the maximum penalties for a conviction are:
- 18 months in jail;
- a $1,000 fine; and/or both.
If the offense involved “criminal negligence,” then you can face:
- Between three and 18 months in jail;
- A fine of up to $750; and/or both.
For serious bodily injuries to a child, defendants can face felony charges. If you recklessly or knowingly injured a child, you can be charged with a Class 3 Felony, and your sentence can include:
- Between four to 16 years in prison;
- A fine of up to $750,000; and/or both.
However, if the injury involved criminal negligence, then the charge becomes a Class 4 Felony that can lead to:
- Between two and eight years in prison;
- A fine of up to $500,000; and/or both.
People with a prior conviction can have a misdemeanor offense turned into a Class 5 felony for a second charge. A Class 5 felony carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. If the child suffered serious bodily harm, the maximum penalty includes 16 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
Given the broad nature of Colorado’s child abuse laws, most defendants face uphill battles against their charges, but there are several defenses a skilled attorney can employ on your behalf. A charge of “child abuse” is largely based on the severity and origins of the child’s alleged injuries. For example, you should face abuse charges if the child was injured in an accident on a playground.
The legal team at Peters & Nolan, LLC, can argue the following defenses on your behalf:
- The child was injured due to an accident.
- The child was injured due to someone else’s actions.
- The child’s or other witness testimonies are unreliable and inconsistent.
- You acted within your right to discipline your child.
- The accusations are false.
- The prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you committed abuse.
At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we are committed to doing everything we can to protect our clients. The sooner we can get started, the better we’ll be able to assemble a defense on your behalf. Contact us today by calling (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free in-person consultation.
- Charges: Child abuse
∗ Result: Dismissed prior to trial
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∗ Not all criminal cases are the same. These results are from actual cases handled by the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. This is not a representation, guarantee or promise as to the results or outcome of your particular matter.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.