Colorado Springs police were recently searching for a man who is accused of assaulting (C.R.S. 18-3-204) a group of children who were bullying his son. The man allegedly sprayed four juveniles with pepper spray, yelled obscenities at them, and chastised them for assaulting his 8 year-old son. While it is unclear at this time whether the El Paso County District Attorney will be pursuing charges against this man, it is likely he will be charged with Assault and Child Abuse (C.R.S. 18-6-401).
Child Abuse and Assault are Common Charges with Kids Involved
In Colorado jurisdictions like Denver, Adams, and Broomfield County, Assault in the third degree is a class 1 misdemeanor. Child Abuse can be classified as anything from a class 3 misdemeanor to a class 2 felony depending on the severity of a child's injury and the mental state with which a person acts (either knowingly, recklessly, or with negligence). Arrests and criminal charges can be brought under fine line distinctions based on whether the child was injured - not on whether someone intended to harm them. Accidents and poor decisions like leaving a child in a car for a brief stop can result in charges for Child Abuse.
Parental Discipline as Defense to Child Abuse Charge
One defense to some allegations of abuse of a child is parental discipline. In general, spanking is not considered child abuse unless the hitting is done with an object besides a parent's hand or if the hitting is so hard that it falls outside the realm of normal discipline. Parental discipline is a very complex legal issue which most of the time needs to be litigated by your lawyer at trial. It is typically not a good idea to physically discipline another person's child because actions against another's child do not fall under parental discipline, with a few limited exceptions. While this man's anger at these kids who were bullying his son is understandable, it is likely that a prosecutor will decide that his actions fall outside of normal boundaries of discipline.
If you have been accused of Child Abuse, Assault, or any other felony or misdemeanor crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the O'Malley Law Office, we handle criminal cases throughout Colorado, including in Jefferson, Douglas, and Arapahoe County. Don't let one moment of anger or carelessness ruin your life, career, and reputation. We know mistakes in judgment happen. If you are contacted by police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.