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Misdemeanor Child Abuse in Colorado: C.R.S. 18-6-301

Most people can agree that when a child is injured at the hands of their parents or another adult, it constitutes Child Abuse under Colorado law (C.R.S. 18-6-401). However, what conduct constitutes Child Abuse when a child is not injured? Unfortunately, the statute is poorly written and leaves a lot of room for interpretation by prosecutors in Adams, Jefferson, and Broomfield County.

For example, we recently had a client who was a wonderful parent and charged with Child Abuse in Douglas County. One of her teenaged children called the police because he believed one of her friends was about to drive drunk. While he was outside of the house on the phone with the police, he made an offhand comment about the door to the house being shut. When the police arrived, they accused our client of child abuse because they thought she had locked her teenaged son out of the house, which was patently false. Even though her son was adamant that he was fine, the police insisted on bringing charges. Luckily, we were able to convince the Douglas County District Attorney to dismiss the charges.

Or, consider another person one of our attorneys recently spoke to. He was charged with Child Abuse in Jefferson County because he jaywalked across a street with his children. Clearly, the man was there to make sure they were doing so in a safe manner, so the children were never in any real danger. The Jefferson County District Attorney, however, thinks that jaywalking is so unreasonable as to constitute misdemeanor Child Abuse.

In order to prove a case of Child Abuse, prosecutors in Arapahoe, Boulder, and Denver County must establish that a person causes an injury to the child's life or health, or permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child's life or health. If a person acts knowingly or recklessly in causing such risk of injury, this crime is a class 2 misdemeanor. If a person acts with criminal negligence, is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Many times, misdemeanor Child Abuse in Colorado is in the eye of the beholder. This is defined by whatever a prosecutor happens to think about a given case. Don't let the government decide what conduct makes you a bad parent. The law is still up for interpretation in this area. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to litigate these issues to a jury. So, if you are contacted by the police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call the O'Malley Law Office today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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  • Sexual Assault and Rape charges related to divorce. Acquittal from jury trial. Weld County, Greeley, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Possession of Child Pornography. Acquittal from jury trial. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
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  • Rape and Sexual Assault charges involving divorce and child custody. Acquittal from jury trial. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Burglary and Felony Theft. Dismissed by District Attorney. Arapahoe County, Englewood, Colorado.
  • Theft of Drugs by Nurse. Dismissed by District Attorney. Jefferson County, Golden, Colorado.
  • Sexual Assault on a Child, Position of Trust. Acquittal from Jury Trial. Adams County, Brighton, Colorado.
  • Domestic Violence. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Violation of Restraining Order. Dismissed by District Attorney. Douglas County, Castle Rock.

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