A Child Abuse charge will do a lot more than simply ruin your whole day. A Misdemeanor Child Abuse charge is devastating and can have far reaching consequences. A Misdemeanor Child Abuse Charge can affect you personally, and it can affect your family, your children, and your career. You will want to act quickly and decisively to protect yourself.
IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANOR CHILD ABUSE IN COLORADO DO NOT WAIT. KEEP YOUR LIFE ON TRACK. CALL DEFENSE ATTORNEY PETER B. ALBANI TODAY AT (303) 753-0900 TO DISCUSS THE DEFENSE OF YOUR CASE.
Few criminal charges carry the stigma of a Child Abuse Charge. A Child Abuse charge can be devastating. You may feel lost and confused. On the basis of the charge alone, you could lose your job, your livelihood, your family, your friends, and more. ATTORNEY PETER ALBANI UNDERSTANDS THIS. MR. ALBANI WILL NOT PASS JUDGMENT ON YOU. MR. ALBANI WILL LOOK TO HELP YOU. You may think you don’t have any options. I am here to tell you however that you do have options. There is a light at the end of your tunnel. I will help you get there.
This article briefly looks at some of the options available to anyone charged with Misdemeanor Child Abuse in Colorado. It does not include Felony Child Abuse.
COLORADO’S MISDEMEANOR CHILD LAW:
In Colorado under Colorado Revised Statutes, Section 18-4-601, the most common of all Child Abuse charges is “Misdemeanor Child Abuse”.
A person commits Misdemeanor Child Abuse if he knowingly or recklessly causes an injury to a Child’s life or health.
A Misdemeanor Child Abuse charge will be heard in a County Court. Attorney Peter Albani has a state-wide law practice. He routinely defends all Child Abuse cases in Denver, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, Adams County, Broomfield County, Elbert County and El Paso County.
SPECIFIC WORDS AND PHRASES IN CHILD ABUSE STATUTE:
For the purposes of the above statute, a CHILD is someone under the age of 16 years old at the time of the event. The term “CAUSES AN INJURY TO A CHILD’S LIFE OR HEALTH” is not defined in the Colorado Criminal statutes. This term intentionally includes a wide range of injuries and abuse. Some judges in Colorado equate “an injury to a child’s life and health” with mere bodily injury, which includes any degree of pain, and any degree of physical or mental impairment.
KNOWINGLY or RECKLESSLY
The criminal mental state for Misdemeanor Child Abuse is “knowingly” or “recklessly”.
Generally, a person acts “KNOWINGLY” when he is aware of his conduct and circumstances and is aware his conduct is practically certain to cause a result.
Generally, a person acts “RECKLESSLY” when he disregards a substantial risk that a result will occur. (Think for instance about Reckless Driving).
Common acts of Misdemeanor Child Abuse include:
Spanking a Child with one’s hand,
Hitting a Child with a belt or an object,
Kicking a Child,
Leaving marks or bruises on a Child.
Physically injuring a Child.
Child Abuse may also include:
Giving a Child too much medicine.
Failing to properly supervise a Child.
Leaving a Child in a locked car.
Failing to pick up a Child after School.
Driving While Intoxicated With a Child in the Vehicle.
Often times the physical abuse is marked by cuts, abrasions and/or bruises. The Police and Medical Providers are trained take photographs to document the extent of the Child’s injuries. A Child is asked to waive any medical privilege. Thus, medical records and files are often made available to show injuries to a Child. Neither photographs nor medical records are required however.
You should keep in mind that bruises often do not show up immediately. It can take a bruise from 48 to 72 hours to appear on a Child.
SENTENCING RANGE FOR MISDEMEANOR CHILD ABUSE
A Misdemeanor Child Abuse charge in Colorado carries a sentence of up to two years in the County Jail. Probation may be allowed and if granted usually requires the offender to attend and complete parenting courses and an anger management class. Probation is often imposed for two years or more. Keep in mind that a judge can impose jail as a condition of probation.
TRAILS CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY
In addition, if you are charged with Child Abuse, it is likely that you will have to defend against a proceeding to place your name on the Trials Child Abuse Registry. This is a separate and distinct administrative proceeding. You need not be convicted to have your name placed on the Child Abuse Registry. Your name can be placed on the Child Abuse Registry FOR LIFE. If you are a teacher, a medical professional, a child care provider, a coach, etc., this can have disastrous consequences.
DEPENDENCY AND NEGLECT PROCEEDING:
You may also have to defend against a separate Dependency and Neglect proceeding brought by the County Department of Human Services in the District Court. This proceeding will carry its own orders and its own set of difficulties.
FIRST APPEARANCE – MANDATORY RESTRAINING ORDER
You should keep in mind that when you first appear in County Court or Municipal Court on a Child Abuse charge, the judge will put a mandatory restraining order in effect against you. This order may require that
You vacate your own house if the Child resides there,
You have no contact with your Child,
You have no contact with any other Child who is under 16 years of age
You will not be allowed to possess or consume alcohol or marijuana
You will not be allowed to possess or use a firearm or weapon for any purpose.
That you be placed on pre-trial services.
That you submit to urine screens.
Other mandatory conditions can be put in effect against you.
Violation of this Mandatory Restraining Order will likely violate any bail bond in place. A violation is a separate and distinct criminal offense.
POSSIBLE PLEA OPTIONS:
While the Prosecution is under no obligation to offer you a plea bargain, in over 90% of the cases where Misdemeanor Child Abuse is filed in Colorado, a plea bargain will be offered. Knowing the ins and outs of an appropriate plea bargain requires experience. You will want an experienced and knowledgeable Defense Attorney. MR. ALBANI HAS SUCCESSFULLY PLEA BARGAINED HUNDREDS OF CHILD ABUSE CASES.
Plea Bargain options may include:
Seeking dismissal of the case
Seeking a reduction in the charge
Avoiding a jail sentence
Avoiding a conviction
Avoiding future registration
NOT GUILTY PLEA AND JURY TRIAL
If your case cannot be resolved in the pre-trial conference stage of your case to your satisfaction, you can enter a “not guilty” plea and set your case for jury trial. At trial:
The Prosecution has the sole burden of proof.
You would be presumed innocent.
You could cross-examine the State’s witnesses
You may choose to present evidence.
Witnesses could testify on your behalf.
The State’s burden of proof is to prove you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Any reasonable doubt is enough for the jury to find you NOT GUILTY.
You can remain silent or you can testify.
You are entitled to a jury of six persons or you can ask for a bench trial.
A jury verdict must be unanimous.
You can obtain the Prosecution’s discovery which usually includes any offense reports, any witness statements, your own statements, any photographs, or other tangible evidence and any statements and opinions of experts.
There are a number of defenses available to you that will want to consider. These include the defenses of:
- GENERAL DENIAL
- REASONABLE DISCIPLINE OF A CHILD
- CORPOREAL PUNISHMENT
- CHILD’S MOTIVE TO LIE
- LACK OF INJURY TO THE CHILD’S LIFE AND HEALTH
- CHILD IMPROPERLY COACHED
- CHILD’S FABRICATION OF EVENTS
- RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
- PROVIDING APPROPRIATE MEDICAL CARE
Other defense may also apply.
IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE IN COLORADO, WE CAN HELP. DON’T DELAY. YOU MUST ACT DECISVELY AND PROTECT YOURSELF. CALL PETER ALBANI AT (303) 753-0900. FOR OVER 30 YEARS MR. ALBANI HAS BEEN SUCESSFULLY DEFENDING CHILD ABUSE CASES. MR ALBANI IS EXTREMELY EXPERIENCED AND CAN HELP YOU BEGIN DEFENDING YOUR CASE. MR.ALBANI HAS SUCESSFULLY DEFENDED HUNDREDS OF CLIENTS ON CHILD ABUSE CASES. DON’T DELAY. CALL (303) 753-0900 TODAY.
ATTORNEY DISCLAIMER: This Web Page article is not designed to give any specific legal advice. This web page contains the thoughts and opinions of Attorney Peter B. Albani. This page is designed for advertising purposes and to foster discussion between prospective Clients and Attorney Peter B. Albani. Simply reading this web page does not create an Attorney-Client relationship. Criminal law can be complicated. The criminal law and procedures are constantly changing and this article can become outdated. Your individual case and circumstances are unique and are fact specific. You should discuss your individual case with an experienced Attorney. No promises direct or implied are made or intended by the comments included herein.