Child Abuse Cases: Strategic Representation

If you have been accused of child abuse, you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help.

At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.

Call us at 303-872-4719 in the Greater Denver area or toll free at 888-725-2609 across Colorado for an initial consultation at reduced rates.

Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, child abuse is committed when a person injures a child, permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury, or engages in a continuous 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 child's death or serious bodily injury.

When a person acts knowingly or recklessly and child abuse results in death, it is a class 2 felony. When a person acts with criminal negligence and child abuse results in death, it is a class 3 felony. When a person acts knowingly or recklessly and child abuse results in serious bodily injury, it is a class 3 felony. When a person acts with criminal negligence and child abuse results in serious bodily injury, it is a class 4 felony. When a person acts knowingly or recklessly and the child abuse results in bodily injury, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. When no injury or death results, child abuse may be charged as a class 2 or class 3 misdemeanor.

Possible Consequences For Child Abuse

Where a person is convicted of class 2 felony child abuse, the offense is punishable by a prison sentence of eight years up to 24 years, with a possible sentence of up to 48 years in the case of exceptional circumstances. The statute provides that the court must impose a prison sentence for a term of at least 16 years, but not more than 48 years.

Where a person is convicted of class 3 felony child abuse, he may be sentenced to: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of four to 12 years, but as much as 24 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years.

Where a person is convicted of class 4 felony child abuse, he may be sentenced to: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of two to six years, but as much as 12 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years.

A child for purposes of the child abuse statute is any person younger than 16.

Possible Defenses For Child Abuse

In cases of child abuse where no injury results, the prosecution often bases its charging decision on speculative facts and outcomes. The operative phrase in the statute defining child abuse is whether the child was "unreasonably" placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury. These cases should be defended aggressively, since many activities that children engage in pose a threat of injury, from playing at the playground to crossing a street to riding in a car.

For example, a parent may leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle while the parent runs into a store. This conduct could give rise to child abuse if the child is clearly and unreasonably placed in a position of danger. Often, however, the police and prosecutor will quickly rely on stereotypes that this conduct is child abuse, even though they cannot specifically point to any one act of placing the child in a situation that poses a threat of injury.

We see child abuse also charged when a child is present during a domestic violence argument, on the theory that it is not good for the child to see his or her parents fight. Again, the police and prosecutor will quickly rely on stereotypes that this conduct is child abuse, even though they cannot specifically point to any one act of placing the child in a situation that poses a threat of injury.

The remaining defenses that may be applied in a child abuse case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor's case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood, or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups, and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.

It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced child abuse lawyer to defend you in a child abuse case in Arvada, Jefferson County, or across Colorado.

Call us at 303-872-4719 in the Greater Denver area or toll free across Colorado at 888-725-2609 for an initial consultation at reduced rates.