Domestic Violence And Child Abuse

If a child witnessed the event that resulted in your Colorado domestic violence case, chances are that you will also be charged with the separate offense of child abuse.  You may also be selected by the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services for inclusion on the Colorado "TRAILS" Child Abuse Registry.


Colorado law defines the crime of child abuse to include circumstances in which a person “unreasonably places a child in a situation that poses a threat of injury.” The police and prosecutors in many Colorado counties believe that a child is placed in this kind of situation when he witnesses an act of domestic violence between his parents.


The tag-along child abuse charge raises the stakes of an ordinary Colorado DV case for several reasons. First, if you are charged with child abuse and domestic violence together, the child will become part of the mandatory restraining order that results from your DV arrest. Second, if you are criminally investigated for an act of child abuse, it is likely that the Colorado Department of Human Services will determine that you should be included on the "TRAILS" registry, a database that identifies confirmed cases of child abuse in Colorado. Third, if your domestic violence and child abuse arrest occurred during a divorce or child custody battle, your position in your domestic relations case can be seriously impacted by the fact of the child abuse charge.


If you are contacted by law enforcement investigating a domestic violence or child abuse incident, you should call an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney right away. Even in the event that law enforcement chooses not to prosecute the child abuse or the District Attorney ultimately dismisses it, the Department of Human Services will make a separate finding of whether an incident of child abuse occurred. If there is enough information in the initial reports to substantiate an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child, which there often will be if there was probable cause for a domestic violence criminal charge, DHS will confirm the incident of child abuse and inform you of your inclusion in the Colorado child abuse registry. Inclusion on the TRAILS registry can have devestating consequences particularly for teachers, day care providers, foster parents, families seeking to adopt, and even parents who want to volunteer with their childrens’ schools, athletic teams, or community organizations.


When you have a domestic violence case with a child abuse charge attached to it, the stakes are very high and more than ever you should look for an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney with knowledge of Colorado domestic violence and child abuse.
Zachary Malkinson is an experienced Boulder defense attorney who can fight your inclusion in the Colorado child abuse database, as well as work for the best result possible in the criminal courts.


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