Child Abuse Defense Lawyers

Child Abuse Laws in Colorado

In Col­orado, there are a num­ber of ways in which a per­son can com­mit child abuse.  First, a per­son com­mits child abuse if he or she directly causes an injury to a child’s life or health.  Child abuse can also occur where a per­son per­mits a child to be unrea­son­ably placed in a sit­u­a­tion that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health.  Addi­tion­ally, a per­son com­mits child abuse if he or she engages in a con­tin­ued pat­tern of con­duct result­ing in under­nour­ish­ment, lack of proper med­ical care, cruel pun­ish­ment, mis­treat­ment, or an accu­mu­la­tion of injuries that ulti­mately results in death or seri­ous bod­ily injury.

Child abuse can also occur where a child is exposed to the man­u­fac­ture of con­trolled sub­stances.  A per­son com­mits child abuse if he or she man­u­fac­tures or attempts to man­u­fac­ture a con­trolled sub­stance in the pres­ence of a child.  Addi­tion­ally, a per­son com­mits child abuse if, in the child’s pres­ence, he or she pos­sesses cer­tain ingre­di­ents with the intent to use them in the man­u­fac­ture of a con­trolled sub­stance.  A par­ent, guardian, or per­son in care or cus­tody of a child can com­mit child abuse by know­ingly allow­ing the child to be present where metham­phet­a­mine is being man­u­fac­tured, or where another per­son pos­sesses the ingre­di­ents intended for metham­phet­a­mine production.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion and Sen­tenc­ing of Child Abuse

The clas­si­fi­ca­tion and sen­tenc­ing of child abuse depends on both the harm suf­fered by the child and the offender’s state of mind.  Class 2 and class 3 felonies of child abuse carry sig­nif­i­cant manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tences. Defen­dants charged class 2 or 3 felony child abuse will never be eli­gi­ble for pro­ba­tion, deferred pros­e­cu­tion, or a sus­pended sen­tence.  Fur­ther­more, Col­orado con­sid­ers child abuse to be a crime that presents an extra­or­di­nary risk of harm to soci­ety, and as a result, has extended the pre­sump­tive sen­tenc­ing ranges for child abuse convictions.

Child abuse result­ing in death

Child abuse result­ing in the death of a child ranges from a class 1 felony to a class 3 felony.  Where a per­son acts know­ingly or reck­lessly, and the child abuse results in death, the offense is a class 2 felony.  Class 2 felony child abuse car­ries a manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence of six­teen years of impris­on­ment, and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of 24 years.  How­ever, under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, the court may impose a sen­tence of up to 48 years.  If the child was younger than twelve years old, and the offender was a per­son in a posi­tion of trust with respect to the child, then the offense is first-degree mur­der, a class 1 felony car­ry­ing a min­i­mum pre­sump­tive sen­tence of life impris­on­ment, and a max­i­mum sen­tence of death.

Where a per­son acts with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, and the child abuse results in death, it is a class 3 felony car­ry­ing a manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence of ten years of impris­on­ment and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of 16 years.  How­ever, under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, the court may impose a sen­tence of up to 32 years of imprisonment.

Child abuse result­ing in seri­ous bod­ily injury

Where a per­son acts know­ingly or reck­lessly, and the child abuse results in seri­ous bod­ily injury, it is a class 3 felony car­ry­ing a manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence of ten years of impris­on­ment and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of six­teen years.  How­ever, under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, the court may impose a sen­tence of up to thirty-two years of imprisonment.

Where a per­son acts with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, and the child abuse results in seri­ous bod­ily injury, it is a class 4 felony car­ry­ing a pre­sump­tive min­i­mum sen­tence of two years of impris­on­ment and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of eight years.  Under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of more than eight years, and under extra­or­di­nary mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of less than two years.

Child abuse result­ing in some injury other than death or seri­ous bod­ily injury

 Where a per­son acts know­ingly or reck­lessly, and the child abuse results in some injury other than death or seri­ous bod­ily injury, the offense is a class 1 mis­de­meanor.  Its min­i­mum pun­ish­ment is six months of impris­on­ment, or $500, or both; and its max­i­mum pun­ish­ment is two years of impris­on­ment, or $5,000, or both.

If the offender acts with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, the offense is a class 2 mis­de­meanor.  Its min­i­mum pun­ish­ment is three months of impris­on­ment, or $250, or both; and its max­i­mum pun­ish­ment is twelve months of impris­on­ment, or $1,000, or both.

How­ever, under cer­tain cir­cum­stances, child abuse result­ing in some injury other than death or seri­ous bod­ily injury is a class 5 felony if the offender has been pre­vi­ously con­victed of child abuse.  Class 5 felony child abuse car­ries a pre­sump­tive min­i­mum sen­tence of one year of impris­on­ment, and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of four years.  Under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of more than four years, and under extra­or­di­nary mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of less than one year.

Child abuse where no death or injury results

 Where a per­son acts know­ingly or reck­lessly, but the child abuse does not result in death or injury, the offense is a class 2 mis­de­meanor.  Its min­i­mum pun­ish­ment is three months of impris­on­ment, or $250, or both; and its max­i­mum pun­ish­ment is twelve months of impris­on­ment, or $1,000, or both.

If the offender acts with crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, the offense is a class 3 mis­de­meanor.  Its min­i­mum pun­ish­ment is $50, and its max­i­mum pun­ish­ment is six months of impris­on­ment, or $750, or both.

How­ever, under cer­tain cir­cum­stances, child abuse that does not result in death or injury is a class 5 felony if the offender has been pre­vi­ously con­victed of child abuse.  Class 5 felony child abuse car­ries a pre­sump­tive min­i­mum sen­tence of one year of impris­on­ment, and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of four years.  Under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of more than four years, and under extra­or­di­nary mit­i­gat­ing cir­cum­stances, a court may impose a sen­tence of less than one year.

Finally, if the child abuse is of the sort in which the child is present where another per­son man­u­fac­tures, attempts to man­u­fac­ture, or pos­sesses the ingre­di­ents to man­u­fac­ture metham­phet­a­mine, it is a class 3 felony  car­ry­ing a manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence of ten years of impris­on­ment and a pre­sump­tive max­i­mum sen­tence of six­teen years.  How­ever, under extra­or­di­nary aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances, the court may impose a sen­tence of up to thirty-two years of imprisonment.

Facing child abuse charges? 

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