How to deal with child abuse charges – Legal representation you’ll need
Child abuse charges are a serious accusation, and you need experienced legal representation to fight the allegations in court. Anyone found guilty of hurting a child can get penalties applicable to a class 6 felony to a class 2 felony. Depending on the severity of the crime, courts may award imprisonment and fines, not to mention a permanent mark on their records. Parents also stand to lose custody of their child, which is terrible if the accusations were made in error.
Your best solution – Get support and advice from a criminal defense lawyer
Considering the consequences, you absolutely must get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer for child neglect. Once you retain the services of experienced counsel, they will initiate building a robust defense. The first step is to gather all the information related to the situation. Do keep in mind that the social worker investigating the charges will interview all the people who know the child. They may talk to the parents, teachers, relatives, neighbors, friends, and siblings in the family. Chances are that you won’t be informed or are allowed to be present during the interview. You might not have any knowledge of the witness testimonies.
The Department of Child Safety representative determines the accuracy of the report
When the Department of Child Safety (DCS) receives a report of child abuse, a licensed social worker is assigned to look into the case and verify the facts of the charges. Depending on their findings, the report can be declared substantiated or unsubstantiated. If the information is incorrect, the case is closed. However, if any evidence is found to support the report, the law takes further action.
Possible defenses in a child abuse case
Your attorney will build a solid defense to refute the allegations and get the charges dismissed. Here are some of the possible defense strategies:
- False charges in a custody battle: During custody battles, it is not uncommon for one parent to manipulate the child into claiming abuse to win custody. Children easily give in to coercion when they are pressured by a parent.
- Disciplining: Parents have the right to guide and discipline their kids, and if their actions don’t result in bodily injuries, child abuse charges don’t apply.
- Religious exemption: The state of Virginia recognizes parents’ rights to care for their children according to their religious beliefs and does not hold them liable for child abuse. For instance, a guardian choosing to withhold medical treatment or vaccinations for a child on religious grounds even if the decision proves to be life-threatening.
- Accidents cannot qualify as negligence: Kids get into all kinds of trouble, like playing, falling from a bike, or getting into a tussle with their siblings. As long as parents do the best they can to protect kids from injuries, they cannot be accused of child abuse.
If you have been falsely accused of child abuse, consult a criminal defense lawyer for help to get the charges refuted to avoid the possible penalties.
Story by Alex Simon