If you are reading this blog, chances are you have been charged with child abuse. This blog is going to focus on the misdemeanor version of child abuse as found in Section 18-6-401(1)(a),(7)(a)(V), C.R.S.
First and important: this is scary. Often if you are facing this charge the government is alleging that you harmed your own child.
Second, in addition to the criminal charge, you are going to face an inquiry from the Department of Human Services.
Sometimes there are criminal charges that can be worked out without a lawyer. This is one of those charges that you absolutely need a lawyer to defend your rights and to ensure that you understand what can happen.
Step 1: Do not make a statement to any law enforcement or any other government official without hiring a lawyer. You have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Use it. But do so politely. And you have to tell the officer or DHS official you are invoking your right to remain silent.
Step 2: You need to retain a lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t wait. The government is not waiting to conduct their investigation and neither should you wait to get your own lawyer.
Step 3: The Department of Human Services records will be discovered/disclosed to the District Attorney. This means you need to get a lawyer hired immediately, before DHS contacts you.
How does a lawyer help in these cases? A lawyer helps you understand the defenses you have. For instance, even if the alleged conduct occurred, you may have an affirmative defense of physical force pursuant to a special relationship. You may have the affirmative defense of self-defense. And the allegation may just be false.
A lawyer also helps you navigate the criminal case and the DHS investigation. They can overlap and often you have to make some strategic decisions on how to deal with the DHS investigation. You need a lawyer to help you make these decisions.
For the criminal case, the government has a lawyer – lots of lawyers, in fact. You need one as well. If you go to trial, you want someone who knows how to protect you and someone who can tell your story to the jury. If you end up negotiating with the government, you want someone who knows the system and how to help you get the best possible outcome.
I have handled many of these cases. Each one is different. They all have one thing in common: an experienced criminal defense lawyer will help you through this difficult time and will help protect you against the government and all of the government’s resources.
Charged with child abuse? Please give me a call at 720-613-8783. I have over 20 years’ experience as a practicing lawyer. My practice is focused on serious criminal defense. I am ready to help you today.