Most adults would never dream of harming the children in their care. But child abuse does happen and in many cases, it results in long-lasting physical, psychological, and emotional harm to the child. An accusation of child abuse can be shocking, but if you face this type of accusation, it is important to behave rationally and seek legal aid from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Child abuse allegations are handled on a case-by-case basis and can be complicated.
Examples of Child Abuse
In general discussions, what constitutes abuse versus reasonable parenting measures can be subjective. In the eyes of the law, acts that cause a child to suffer an observable impairment or a physical injury are acts of child abuse, as are acts or omissions that permit children to enter or remain in situations where they are at risk of this type of physical, emotional, or psychological harm. Acts of child abuse can include:
- Failure to provide the child with the medical care he or she needs;
- Neglecting to provide adequate food, clean water, clothing, or shelter to a child;
- Physically harming a child to the point of leaving marks on his or her body;
- Neglecting a child’s emotional or psychological needs; and
- Engaging in sexual contact with a child or otherwise failing to prevent the child from engaging in harmful sexual conduct.
Who is a Mandatory Reporter?
Under Texas law, individuals in certain positions are required to report any suspicions they have that a child is being abused to Child Protective Services. Mandatory reporters who fail to report child abuse to the correct authorities can face criminal charges. Mandatory reporters include:
- Daycare workers;
- Members of the clergy; and
- Any other individual who comes into contact with the child in a professional setting, such as a counselor or an individual working with a child advocacy group.
Penalties for a Child Abuse Conviction in Texas
The penalties an individual convicted of child abuse faces depend on the nature of the extent of the child’s injuries and the nature of the alleged abuse.
Child abuse can be charged as a State Jail Felony to a First-Degree Felony. Depending on the level of an individual’s charge, he or she can face six months to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for a child abuse conviction.
Work with an Experienced Collin County Child Abuse Attorney
A child abuse accusation can destroy your reputation. If you are convicted of child abuse, your ruined reputation can be compounded by a prison sentence and high fines. Defend your case against a child abuse charge by working with an experienced Collin County criminal defense lawyer. Contact our team at Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC today for your free, confidential consultation with a member of our team.