Child Abuse Lawyer
Allegations of child abuse are extremely serious. If found guilty, you could face harsh criminal penalties and lose your parenting rights.
When you are accused of child abuse, you need the Dadvocates, Colorado's only law firm focused on protecting the rights of fathers.
Our child abuse lawyers are ready to fight for you. Learn more about what we can do for men who are facing child abuse charges...
Accused of Child Abuse? We Can Provide Defense
For good reason, courts in Colorado take child abuse cases very seriously. There is nothing more important than protecting children, and adults who harm children should face consequences.
However, child abuse is not as black-and-white as you might think. Under Colorado law, the definition of child abuse is quite expansive, and behaviors or parenting styles that some parents consider normal may be considered abusive by others.
Additionally, it is not uncommon for child abuse allegations to be made in bad faith. During a divorce or separation, one parent may make dishonest accusations against another in order to gain leverage in custody negotiations. Unfortunately, fathers are especially vulnerable to this kind of slander.
The Dadvocates exist because we know that men face unique challenges in family law and criminal cases. If you are a dad who has been accused of child abuse, we are the law firm that will listen to your story and work to make sure the truth is known. Just like you, we want what is best for your children.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner our lawyers can get to work on your case. Take the first step by contacting us online or giving us a call.
Call the Dadvocates: (720) 749-2876
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I had false domestic abuse accusations thrown at me suddenly in the middle of my divorce. Amy waded in there like Godzilla, systematicly destroying witness after witness, and each false claim. My ex wife had two lawyers, whom had the advantage of being able bounce ideas off each other, and had two sets of eyes on everything in court. Amy had no backup, and solod them both. I saw my kids the very next day for the first time in 112 days.View On Google
After years of fighting for visitation rights, my brother was not only awarded those rights but joint legal custody as well. Samara and her team are very knowledgeable, persistent, and professional. If you need legal representation that will fight for you and get the job done this team is who I recommend. You won’t be disappointed. Our family is forever grateful for all the hard work and dedication from this firm. Thanks again and many blessings upon your family for bridging the gap in ours.View On Google
How Colorado Defines Child Abuse
" A person commits child abuse if such person causes an injury to a 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, or engages 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 serious bodily injury to a child." C.R.S. 18-6-401
What Can Be Considered Abuse?
- Physically injuring a child
- Having sexual contact with a child
- Spanking a child
- Leaving a child unattended
- Exposing a child to controlled substances
- Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle
- Failing to ensure a child's access to proper medical care
- Failing to properly nourish a child
- Demonstrating a pattern of "cruel punishment"
- Confining a child
- Threatening a child or making threats to other people in the child's presence
- Committing domestic violence in the presence of a child
- Committing other crimes in the presence of a child
- Depriving a child of sanitary daily conditions
- Otherwise neglecting a child
*In child abuse cases, Colorado law considers anyone under 16 years of age to be a child.
What Should You Do When Charged with Abuse? Contact the Dadvocates as Soon as Possible
When you face child abuse charges, you need to act swiftly. According to Colorado law:
"All cases involving the commission of an act of child abuse shall take precedence before the court; the court shall hear these cases as soon as possible after they are filed." (C.R.S. 18-6-401.1)
The court is going to fast-track your child abuse case, so you should consult with a child abuse defense lawyer as soon as possible. Fortunately, the attorneys at the Dadvocates are always available to answer your questions, even at nights and on weekends.
To get in touch with us quickly, call our main line. You can also send us a message online.
Call Us: (720) 749-2876
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"At a time when I was at my very worst, upset and not thinking rationally, I found the Dadvocates. They represented me in my divorce and did such an amazing job that I've been told by many "Wow, I can't believe you got that kind of settlement! That's like never heard of!" Walter Stones, 5-Star Google Review
Physical Discipline and Child Abuse A Fine Line
Corporal punishment, especially spanking, is a controversial subject in our culture today. Despite the fact that many parents believe physical discipline is wrong, about 81 percent of adults in the United States still believe that spanking is sometimes appropriate, according to a 2013 Harris Poll.
Colorado law does make allowances for parents physically disciplining their children, although the language is vague and open to interpretation. C.R.S. 18-1-703 states that "a parent [...] may use reasonable and appropriate physical force upon the minor [...] when and to the extent it is reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline or promote the welfare of the minor."
If you physically discipline your child and it has led to accusations of child abuse, this is the statute that our lawyers will use to argue that your actions were justifiable. By presenting your side of the story clearly, we will work to convince a judge or jury that your actions were "reasonably necessary and appropriate."
Child Abuse and Child Custody
In Colorado, the courts make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. Generally speaking, judges attempt to approve a parenting plan that allows children to spend roughly equal time with both parents. However, if one parent is found guilty of child abuse, then the state will likely prevent that parent from spending time with the child or having decision-making power in the child's life.
Allegations of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can give another parent significant leverage in a custody dispute, which is why some parents have been known to make false accusations. When your custody case gets complicated by false accusations of abuse, contact the Dadvocates. Our criminal defense lawyers can partner with our family law attorneys to help you maintain a role in your child's life.
The Preponderance of the Evidence
Child abuse charges can be criminal charges (especially when the charges involve accusations of sexual abuse). However, even if you are not found guilty in criminal court, allegations of abuse or neglect can still impact your parenting plan. Under Colorado law, if a judge in family court determines that there is a "preponderance of the evidence" that a parent has committed child abuse, the judge has the ability to limit that parent's access to their children, with or without a criminal conviction. In other words, if the judge believes that abuse is more likely to have happened than not, he or she can impose restrictions accordingly. Therefore, it's important to work with a lawyer even if your allegations have not turned into criminal charges.
How Child Abuse Charges Affect Parenting Plans
If a judge in family court decides that there is a preponderance of the evidence that you have committed child abuse or neglect, he or she has the ability to create a parenting plan that:
- Limits contact between you and the other parent or you and your child
- Requires any exchange of the child to take place in a "protected setting"
- Requires any time you spend with your child to be supervised
- Restricts your rights to keep your child overnight
- Restricts you from possessing or consuming alcohol during parenting time or for twenty-four hours leading up to your parenting time
- Keeps your child's primary address confidential from you
- Requires you to make child support payments through a government agency instead of directly to the other parent
The Stakes Are High Speak with an Attorney
As you can see, the stakes are high when you are charged with child abuse or neglect. Even if you don't face the steep criminal penalties of child abuse charges, a judge in family court may still restrict your access to your children.
The Dadvocates are here to make sure that children maintain relationships with their fathers. Our lawyers assist dads all over Colorado from our offices in:
- Colorado Springs / El Paso County
- Crested Butte
- Glenwood Springs
- Grand Junction
- Steamboat Springs
We also offer remote representation, so we can work with you even if you're not close to one of our locations. Contact us today so our lawyers can help protect the best interests of your children.
Call Us: (720) 749-2876
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In Colorado, people in certain roles or professions are required by law to report child abuse or suspected child abuse. Furthermore, the law protects these mandatory reporters from liability if the allegations are eventually proved false, as long as they made the initial report in good faith. Mandatory reporters in Colorado include:
- Hospital personnel
- School officials or employees
- Social workers
- Mental health professionals
- Police officers
- Clergy members
- Athletic coaches
If a mandatory reporter has reported you for child abuse, they were just doing their duty. However, these allegations can be the result of misunderstandings. When you hire the criminal defense attorneys at the Dadvocates, we will review the child abuse charges and help bring the truth to light.
Child Testimony in Child Abuse Cases
Children can be questioned as witnesses in a Colorado child abuse case. However, because of the potential emotional trauma that this could cause a child, lawyers on both sides of the case should seriously consider whether calling a child witness is necessary and responsible.
In some circumstances, our clients are surprised when their children give false or misleading accounts of alleged abuse or neglect. In these scenarios, it's not impossible that the child has been intentionally confused or manipulated. When this happens, our attorneys can carefully and compassionately question your child to reveal the truth.
In other circumstances, our criminal defense lawyers may need to call your child as a witness in order to prove that the charges against you are unfounded. We never make this decision lightly. No matter what, we will always make your child's wellbeing our foremost concern.
The Criminal Penalties of Child Abuse
In Colorado, child abuse is an "extraordinary risk" crime, which means it involves even more severe penalties than other felonies or misdemeanors. Based on the nature of the alleged abuse, you could face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. The different categories of child abuse and their associated penalties are laid out in the chart below. This list is not exhaustive.
|Acting knowingly or recklessly and the child abuse results in death to the child||Class 2 Felony||Eight to 24 years in prison; $5,000 to $1,000,000 in fines|
|Acting with criminal negligence and the child abuse results in death to the child||Class 3 Felony||Four to 16 years in prison; $3,000 to $750,000 in fines|
|Acting knowingly or recklessly and the child abuse results in serious bodily injury to the child||Class 3 Felony||Four to 16 years in prison; $3,000 to $750,000 in fines|
|Acting with criminal negligence and the child abuse results in serious bodily injury to the child||Class 4 Felony||Two to eight years in prison; $2,000 to $500,000 in fines|
|Acting knowingly or recklessly and the child abuse results in any injury other than serious bodily injury||Class 1 Misdemeanor||Six to 24 months in prison; $500 to $5,000 in fines|
|Acting with criminal negligence and the child abuse results in any injury other than serious bodily injury to the child||Class 2 Misdemeanor||Three to 12 months in prison; $250 to $1,000 in fines|
|Committing child abuse when a person acts knowingly or recklessly||Class 2 Misdemeanor||Three to 12 months in prison; $250 to $1,000 in fines|
|Committing child abuse when a person acts with criminal negligence||Class 3 Misdemeanor||Up to six months in prison; $50 to $750 in fines|
|Exposing a child to controlled substances||Class 3 Felony||Four to 16 years in prison; $3,000 to $750,000 in fines|
To understand the potential ramifications of your child abuse charges, you need to understand the difference between "knowingly or recklessly" and "criminal negligence." Basically, you act recklessly when you know an action is dangerous, but you do it anyway. You act with "criminal negligence" when you should know, but don't know, that an action is dangerous, and you do it anyway.
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I had the pleasure and good fortune of having jason the lead criminal attorney represent me in my previous domestic violence case . he was great to work with talks to you professionally but also like you his friend .always kept me informed of everything going on threw out this entire process. He really did make this a painless as possible for me and he got me the win at the end . couldn't of asked for anything better from himView On Google
I hired this firm at Avery hard time in my life. I consulted with Samera then was transferred to Kaitlyn when Samera took maternity leave. They over prepared on everything and worked evenings and weekends. My wife got me kicked out of our home with a protection order but Samera filed a brilliant motion that got me back in. Kaitlyn got me my kids. Overall, they really delivered and they actually treated me with respect even when I yelled and lost it.View On Google
Child Abuse and Drug Crimes
Child abuse laws in Colorado make several explicit mentions of controlled substances. It is considered child abuse if you:
- Manufacture, attempt to manufacture, or possess the ingredients necessary to manufacture a controlled substance while in the presence of a child, on the same premises as a child, or in a vehicle containing a child.
- Knowingly allow your child to be on a premises or in a vehicle where controlled substances are being manufactured.
In these scenarios, you can separately face severe penalties for both a drug crime and child abuse, which could lead to you spending several decades in prison. At the Dadvocates, our criminal defense lawyers represent men charged with drug offenses. We can help you achieve reduced or dropped charges.
Colorado Child Abuse FAQs
Is spanking illegal in Colorado?
Not necessarily. In Colorado, using physical force on a child is not considered abuse if the force is "reasonable and appropriate" to maintain discipline. However, this is obviously a concept that is very open to interpretation. If another party considers your spanking to be excessive or cruel, they can report you for child abuse.
Can child abuse charges affect my employment?
Yes. Child abuse is considered either a misdemeanor or a felony in Colorado. If you are found guilty of criminal child abuse, these violations will go on your criminal record, which can be referenced by potential employers.
How common is child abuse in Colorado?
According to the Child Welfare League of America, Colorado had 95,139 total referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2017. Of those referrals, 34,316 were investigated by state authorities.
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