Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
Does Colorado mandatory reporting apply to domestic violence?
Colorado doctors and physician assistants are required to report to police any domestic violence-related gunshot wounds and knife wounds. For all other domestic violence-related injuries, doctors and physician assistants may – but are not required – to report the injuries if the victim:
is at least 18 years old, and
requested that the injury not be reported.
Therefore if the victim of domestic violence is a minor under 18 years of age, Colorado law requires that doctors and physician assistants be mandatory reporters no matter what. And it does not matter whether the abuse involved sexual abuse or caused serious bodily injuries.1
1. What is the penalty for failing to report domestic violence?
It is a petty offense in Colorado for doctors and physician assistants (“licensees”) to fail to report gunshot wounds or knife wounds related to domestic violence to a local law enforcement agency.
It is also a petty offense not to report other domestic violence-related injuriesunless the victim is at least 18 and indicated the preference not to report.
Petty offenses under Colorado state law carry a penalty of:
Up to 10 days in jail, and/or
Up to $300 in fines.2
2. What other obligations do doctors have to domestic violence victims?
Under Colorado reporting laws, doctors and physician assistants who honor an adult domestic violence victim’s request not to report their injuries are required to document this request in the victim’s medical records.
Doctors and physician assistants who do report a domestic violence victim’s injuries to police should make a good faith effort to confidentially notify the victim of their intent to make the report.
Whether or not a doctor or physician assistant reports a domestic violence victim’s injuries, the doctor or physician assistant should refer the victim to a victim’s advocate or to other services (such as victim assistance hotlines).3
3. What constitutes domestic violence?
Domestic violence means
“an act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence also includes any other crime against a person or any municipal ordinance violation against a person when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge directed against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship [‘intimate partner’].”
Meanwhile, an intimate relationship means a:
“relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.”4
4. Can doctors be sued for making a report?
No. Doctors and physician assistants cannot be held civilly liable for reporting a victim’s injuries to the police as long as they had a good faith belief that domestic violence was the cause.
But as discussed above, failing to follow reporting requirements is a criminal petty offense in Colorado.5
Colorado doctors must notify the police of victims who were deliberately shot.
5. Who are mandatory reporters for child abuse?
Some of the mandatory reporters for child abuse include:
social workers in any licensed or certified facility or agency (such as child care providers),
mental health professionals,
workers of county departments of health, human services or social services, and
emergency medical service providers.
Failing to report child abuse when required is a class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 120 days in jail and/or up to $750 in fines.6
Have you or a family member been arrested in Colorado? Contact our Denver law office for legal advice. Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers serve clients accused of sexual- or other physical abuse throughout Colorado including Denver, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and more.
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.