Colorado Lawyer for Child Abuse Causing Death
One of the most difficult charges to face as a parent or a guardian is “Child Abuse Causing Death.” Not only are you navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system, you are also dealing with a significant and traumatic event – the tragic loss of a child. As an attorney that has defended numerous high-profile cases involving these types of charges, I can tell you from experience that it will take an emotional toll on you and your family.
While you are grieving, the police may try and question you when you are feeling your lowest. Law enforcement may use this to emotionally manipulate you. They may bring in doctors who specialize in discovering child abuse who may make determinations that are not at all scientifically accurate. All of this is concerning and why it is important to retain an experienced attorney who knows how to navigate the complexities of these types of charges.
Penalties for Child Abuse Causing Death
While it is important to retain an attorney, it is also important to understand what you may be facing in the criminal justice system. In Colorado, Child Abuse Causing Death can be broken down into two sub-categories under Colorado CRS 18-6-401:
(I) When a person acts knowingly or recklessly and the child abuse results in death to the child, it is a class 2 felony except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (7).
People often ask us, what does the legal language mean? What does knowingly or recklessly mean? Knowing abuse of a child means that you “knowingly” commit the crime of child abuse when you are generally aware of:
- The abusive nature of your conduct in relation to child, or
- The circumstances in which you commit an act against the well-being of the child.
You are accused of acting “recklessly” when you are aware of and consciously choose to disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that your conduct could result in injury to a child’s life or health.
(II) When a person acts with criminal negligence and the child abuse results in death to the child, it is a class 3 felony.
What about criminal negligence? What does that mean? You act with criminal negligence when, through a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, you fail to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists.
When talking to clients and their families about these types of serious cases, the first question we usually get at the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is what does this mean for my future? What am I facing? Colorado sentencing is complex but in general the following applies:
If you acted knowingly or recklessly, child abuse that results in death is a Colorado class 2 felony. Consequences of felony child abuse resulting in death can include this sentencing range:
- 8-24 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $5,000-$1,000,000.
If you acted negligently, it is a Colorado class 3 felony. Penalties for negligent child abuse resulting in the child’s death can include:
- 4-16 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $3,000-$750,000.
For a short listen on this topic, I would recommend the following NPR podcast, entitled “Child Cases Guilty Until Proven Innocent:”
Child Abuse Causing Death Lawyer in Colorado Springs
Obviously, a lot can go into how you are sentenced. For instance, you may never be convicted, the case may be dismissed, you may win at trial, you make take a “plea deal,” or you may be convicted at trial. It is important you talk to us about all your options, your potential defenses, mitigation, and all the other things that go into these types of cases. Having an experienced and compassionate Colorado Springs child abuse attorney from that start is extremely important in this type of a case.
To speak to a qualified child abuse Colorado lawyer, contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today at (719) 328-1616.