Fort Collins lawyers know that Child Abuse, C.R.S.18-6-401, is a favorite charge of police and district attorneys in Larimer County. Most of us understand that this crime will be charged when a child is injured. It is also important to know that even though a child has not been harmed, people are still charged if a child is exposed to danger. This sometimes occurs when children are present when other crimes occur between adults. While most of us agree that people who hit or intentionally harm their kids deserve to be charged, few realize how frequently adults are charged when no harm results or when no harm was intended in an accidental injury. It is vital to your future, and the future of your children to have an experienced child abuse defense attorney in Fort Collins by your side.
Information on the Three Types of Child Abuse
Misdemeanor Child Abuse
In the Larimer County cities of Fort Collins, Loveland and Estes Park, felony and misdemeanor charges of Child Abuse are given by police when a child is injured or endangered. If no serious injury results to the child from an accident, it will be charged as reckless child abuse, a class one misdemeanor. If injury is the result of “knowingly” conduct, the adult will be charged with the class one misdemeanor child abuse. When the adult acts with criminal negligence and there is injury to the child other than serious bodily injury, the adult will be charged with a class two misdemeanor.
Felony Child Abuse
Serious bodily injury or death to a child results in felony child abuse charges. If the adult causes the death of a child through knowing or reckless conduct, it is charged as a class 2 felony. If the adult acted with criminal negligence and a child is killed, it is a class 3 felony. You might see this charge when a child is killed in a car accident. If no death occurs, but serious bodily injury results, it is charged as a class 3 felony if the adult acted knowingly or recklessly. Under these circumstances, if the adult acted with criminal negligence, it is charged as a class 4 felony. You might expect to see this charge when a child is injured when their parent’s car slid on ice and the child was seriously injured.
Dependency and Neglect
Finally, if children are simply endangered and no injury results, the adult can still be charged. Colorado statute lists this as a crime when an adult “permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health.” This broad “endangerment” definition includes when a child is present in a car during a DUI or a fight between adults. It also occurs if a child is left alone in a locked car. When a person acts knowingly or recklessly in committing an act of child abuse by endangerment alone, it is a class 2 misdemeanor. If they are acting with criminal negligence, is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Why You Need an Experienced Fort Collins Child Abuse Defense Attorney
Sentences to the Colorado Department of Corrections are possible with all felony convictions, whether by jury verdict or a guilty plea from a plea agreement. If an adult is convicted of misdemeanor child abuse, they can be sentenced to the Larimer County Jail. In either case, a sentence to probation is possible as well. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer can make the difference for your freedom.