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Child Abuse Laws in Colorado

Child abuse in Colorado involves harming a minor under 16 years of age or placing that child in harm’s way. Common examples of child abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, allowing a child to be unreasonably placed in a dangerous situation, and driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs with a child in the vehicle. 

You could be charged with child abuse for knowingly harming a child or acting in a reckless manner and being aware that such conduct could lead to harming the minor. In addition, if you are in a position of trust (e.g. parent, legal guardian, teacher, daycare supervisor, babysitter, etc.) with respect to the child at the time the unlawful act occurred, you are essentially liable for the minor’s physical and mental welfare. Two intimate partners arguing or fighting in front of minors can be charged with child abuse as well.

The following are the penalties for child abuse in Colorado based on the harm suffered by the minor: 

  • No serious injury – If the offense does not involve serious injury or death, knowingly or recklessly committing child abuse is considered a misdemeanor that carries a maximum 18-month jail term and/or a fine of up to $1,000. On the other hand, if you acted with criminal negligence, a conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $750. However, if you have a prior conviction for child abuse in any state, you are in a position of trust, and you participate in a continuous pattern of abuse, then the offense is a Class 5 felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and/or a maximum fine of $100,000. 

  • Serious injury – Knowingly or recklessly abusing a child and causing serious injury is a Class 3 felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 14 years and/or a fine of up to $750,000. If you acted with criminal negligence and the child suffered a serious injury, the offense is a Class 4 felony, which carries a maximum prison term of eight years and/or a fine of up to $50,000. 

  • Death – Knowingly or recklessly abusing a child that leads to the minor’s death is a Class 2 felony, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 24 years and/or a maximum fine of $1 million. Negligent abuse is a Class 3 felony. Lastly, if the child was under 12 years old, you were in a position of trust, and you knowingly cause a child’s death, you could be charged with first-degree murder, which carries life imprisonment. 

Child abuse allegations can lead to serious criminal penalties, such as a lengthy prison sentence, fines worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even a permanent criminal record. Furthermore, there is also the possibility of losing custody or even parental rights of your child. 

If you have been accused of child abuse in Denver, contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. today at (303) 622-3281 for a free consultation. More than three decades of trial-tested experience! 

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