Colorado Child Abuse Laws

A person commits child abuse in Colorado when he or she harms a child under the age of 16 or places the child in a potentially harmful situation.

A vast majority of the criminal cases that arise in relation to child abuse, reckless endangerment (child endangerment), or neglect begin with a call or report to the Colorado Department of Children and Family Services, also known as DCFS. Reports are taken on a case-by-case basis, and although every report is not prosecuted, the more serious reports are passed to prosecutors in the county in which the charges will take place. Jeff Weeden is an experienced Colorado attorney who understands the challenges that will arise from such charges.

For more information, check out our comprehensive blog: What You Need to Know About Colorado’s Child Abuse Laws

Acts that Constitute Child Abuse in Colorado

A few of the acts that are considered child abuse in Colorado include, but are not limited to:

  • Causing injury to a child’s life
  • Causing injury to a child’s health
  • Permitting a child to be placed in a threatening situation, unreasonably
  • Engaging in a continued conduct that results in:
    • Malnourishment
    • Lacking proper medical attention or care
    • Cruel punishment
    • Mistreatment
    • The accumulation of injuries that results in death or serious injury to a child
  • DUI with a child in the vehicle
  • DWAI with a child in the vehicle
  • Performing or allowing female circumcision or genital mutilation
  • Allowing a child to be near the manufacturing of drugs or where precursors are present

Penalties for Criminal Child Abuse in Colorado

The consequences for child abuse can vary, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • The victim’s age
  • Whether the defendant acted knowingly, negligently, or recklessly
  • Whether the alleged abuse resulted in serious injury or death

The possible penalties for Colorado child abuse crimes are:

  • First-degree Murder
  • Class 2 Felony
  • Class 3 Felony
  • Class 4 Felony
  • Class 5 Felony
  • Colorado Misdemeanor

Legal Definitions of Child Abuse in Colorado

Knowing Child Abuse

In Colorado, you “knowingly” commit the act of child abuse when you are generally aware of or a reasonable person would be generally aware of:

  • an abusive nature of your conduct to a child or
  • circumstances surrounding an act in which you commit an act against the well-being of a child

Reckless Endangerment or Child Endangerment

Under Colorado Law, you are acting in a reckless manner if you are aware of and make a conscious decision to disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that your conduct could directly or indirectly result to an injury to a child’s life or health.

The term, “reckless endangerment” covers many different actions, all of which the recklessness or indifference will likely cause death or serious bodily injury. Some states make child endangerment offenses in their child abuse statutes, while other other states, make child endangerment a separate offense altogether.

Negligent Child Abuse

You’re acting with criminal negligence, under Colorado law, when your actions are a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would conduct, and when you fail to notice the substantial and unjustifiable risk that could result from your actions.

Position of Trust in Colorado

In Colorado, the standing child abuse law states that you are in a position of trust if at the time of the criminal act, you are responsible for the child’s health, supervision, education, welfare, etc. This is the case, no matter how brief the time frame may be.

Reporting Child Abuse or Child Endangerment

Each state has different requirements when it comes to the reporting of child abuse. In Colorado, Code Section 325 ILCS 5/1 states that abuse is constituted as “Inflicting or causing, allowing, or creating a substantial risk of physical injury, other than by accident, that causes death, disfigurement, impairment of physical or emotional health, or loss or impairment of any bodily function; committing or allowing to be committed any sex offense; torture, excessive corporal punishment, female genital mutilation; giving child access to controlled substances”.

Occupations with Legal Requirements for Reporting Child Abuse or Endangerment

Reporting such is required by, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Physician
  • Medical or Hospital Employees
  • Dentist
  • Counselor
  • Church Administration
  • Coroner
  • Funeral Home Employees
  • Crisis or Hotline Employees
  • EMTs
  • School Employees
  • Social Workers
  • Day Care Employees
  • Nurses
  • Psychologist
  • Domestic Violence Personelle
  • Law Enforcement
  • Foster Parents
  • Child Care Workers
  • Homemakers
  • Probation Officers
  • and all other Private and Public Agency Personnel

Anyone in the previous positions who has “reasonable cause to believe a child may be abused or neglected” is required, by law, to report it to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Child Abuse/Child Endangerment Reporting: Noncompliant Penalties

Penalties for failure to report are as follows:

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • If Doctor or Physician, referred to the state medical disciplinary board
  • If Dentist, referred to the Department of Professional Regulation

With this being said, those around children should not take abuse reports lightly, and a report could easily come from a misunderstanding or something out of your control. Attorney Jeff Weeden understands this and is always willing to lend a listening ear and help his clients through the tough roads to come!

Colorado Child Abuse, Child Endangerment or Reckless Endangerment, and Neglect Laws

Denver criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden understands that when you face charges of this nature, you will need help. Regardless if the allegations arise from a misunderstanding or if you simply had a momentary lapse of judgment, you deserve a qualified attorney to stand in your corner. WeedenLaw wants what’s best for your child and you.

In Denver, Colorado, child abuse is the mistreatment of a child who is under the age of 16 by either a parent, guardian, caretaker or even simply someone who works with children or is around children. The abuse may cause physical injury, such as burns, scrapes, broken bones, etc. It can also be sexual, such as incest, fondling, or any number of actions. Although emotional may be more difficult to prove, abuse can also be emotional.

Child abuse in Colorado is a serious allegation. However, if your alleged behavior actively causes injury or certain types of damage to a child, it is much more serious. The courts take accusations of negligence or abuse of children very seriously. If any of these allegations include physical violence, abandonment, or sexual abuse, if indicted, it will cost you most of, if not the rest of, your life.

For more information, check out our blog : New Hope For Those Falsely Accused of Child Abuse

Criminal Lawyer Jeff Weeden

A trusted advocate during his nearly 15 years representing those accused of crimes, attorney Weeden has represented clients throughout Colorado including Adams, Arapahoe, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Morgan, Weld counties and beyond.

Act Now—Call Attorney Jeff Weeden To Build A Solid Defense Strategy Against These Serious Charges

For a free initial consultation, call 720.307.4330. Phone answers 24/7 and collect calls from inmates are accepted.

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