While the phrase child abuse typically evokes an incident of physical violence or extreme negligence, a crime of child abuse can be filed based on a variety of conduct ranging from the minimal to the extremely severe.
Child abuse charges range from the most serious, a Class 2 felony, to the least serious, a Class 1 misdemeanor – with the severity of the charge depending on the precise nature and extent of the injury to the child.
Child abuse is defined as an action, or inaction, involving injury to a child’s life or health, or permitting a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child, or engaging 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 causes serious bodily injury to a child. In situations where police respond to an allegation of domestic violence, and a child either is present or observed the altercation occur, child abuse charges frequently are brought against the defendant (or the person charged with domestic violence).
Charges of child abuse frequently carry serious and far-reaching consequences. You may have difficulty securing employment or housing. You may, depending on the severity of your case, face a jail or even prison sentence. You may be required to complete many hours of parenting, anger management, and even substance abuse classes, and undergo monitored sobriety, which can be a major inconvenience.
In nearly all cases in which child abuse is charged, social services will have some degree of involvement. Social services often is contacted by the law enforcement agency responding to the incident, or by the school if the child’s school is the reporting party.
The social services representative, if contacted, will wish to speak with the child, or observe the child if the child is too young. They will also wish to do a home visit to inspect the propriety of the child’s surroundings. They will request to speak with the suspect, although, the suspect must be aware that anything he says to this person likely will be shared with the prosecutor. While social services records are not publicly available, the prosecution often converses with social services prior to extending an offer in a child abuse case. Additionally, the prosecutor can file a motion requesting that the court conduct an in camera review of the records, and then release some redacted portion of those records to the prosecution and also the defense attorney.
A positive finding by social services can be of some assistance in the defense of your child abuse case.
Left your child unsupervised in a car? You could face child abuse charges.
In the past several years, cases of children being left unsupervised in vehicles have received significant media attention. Of course, the facts of some of these cases have been more serious than others.
Despite what prosecutors may say, there is no bright line rule that specifically prohibits an adult from leaving a child in a car. That is, there is no law specifically prohibiting this conduct, at least in Colorado. there are some circumstances where leaving a child in a car may not constitute child abuse.
Some factors which may impact whether or not the conduct was child abuse, and if so, how strong the case against you may be are: the age of the child, whether any older children were left to supervise younger children, how long the child was left in the car, the weather, whether the car was left running with the air conditioning/heat on to maintain an appropriate temperature, and whether the car was visible from where you were.
Attorney Diego has successfully obtained dismissal, deferred prosecutions, and deferred judgements for numerous individuals charged with child abuse based on leaving their children unattended in a car.
Hire an Experienced Child Abuse Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with child abuse, or believe you may soon face charges of child abuse, do not hesitate to contact Denver defense attorney Kimberly Diego for a free consultation at (720) 257-5346.