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Facing a child abuse investigation is terrifying. You are likely concerned about the possible criminal charges and worried about how the incident will affect your family life and reputation in the community. These are valid concerns.
Child abuse charges often arise due to a misinterpretation, misunderstanding, or malicious report. Contacting a skilled attorney with experience defending child abuse charges is a critical first step in defeating a charge. Managing these charges and mitigating the potential consequences can be challenging, but a Glendale child abuse lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group is up to the task. We will work tirelessly to ensure your voice is heard and fight for your way of life.
Arizona Revised Statute §13-3623 describes the crime of child abuse. Broadly, the statute states that it is illegal for anyone to physically harm a child. It is also illegal for a caregiver to expose a child to a situation that could cause the child bodily harm or endanger their health.
The law deals with two circumstances: when the conduct endangered the child’s life and when the conduct had the potential to cause serious harm to the child. To be guilty of child abuse, the defendant must act knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or with criminal negligence.
If the prosecutor believes they can prove someone knowingly or intentionally harmed a child, the charge could be a Class 2 felony. This carries a presumptive prison term of five years for a first offender, although the sentence could range from three years to 12 years and six months. Some crimes qualify for special sentencing if committed against a child under 15. Our Glendale child abuse attorneys could explain whether enhanced sentencing applies to a specific case.
When the prosecutor believes the defendant recklessly endangered the child’s life, the charge is a Class 3 felony. The presumptive sentence for a Class 3 felony for a first offender is three and a half years in prison, but the sentence could range from two to eight years and nine months.
When someone negligently harms a child or puts them in a situation that could lead to death or serious injury, the crime is a Class 4 felony. The presumptive sentence for a first offender is two and a half years, but the sentence could range from one year to three years and nine months.
Conduct that could be physically or mentally harmful to a child but does not expose them to the risk of serious injury or death is also child abuse under the statute. The penalties reflect the decreased risk of permanent harm, but the charges are still felonies.
When someone allegedly intentionally or knowingly risks harm to a child, the crime is a Class 4 felony. If the defendant allegedly acted recklessly in exposing the child to harm, the crime is a Class 5 felony, and the presumptive prison sentence for a first offender is one and a half years. When the defendant is accused of negligently putting the child in harm’s way, the crime is a Class 6 felony with a presumptive sentence of one year.
Multiple professionals, including doctors and teachers, are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse. However, anyone could anonymously make a report, and the state’s child protection workers must follow up. If they feel a crime may have occurred, they often involve the police. Law enforcement also might get involved if someone observes suspected abuse and calls the police or if the police arrest someone for a crime like drug possession while children are present.
Anyone facing a child abuse investigation should contact our seasoned local attorneys immediately and refuse to answer questions from law enforcement or social services without legal counsel. Evidence of child abuse is often based on circumstantial evidence. Suspects who speak with police or social workers without representation often inadvertently harm their case.
A skilled Glendale attorney at our firm could challenge the motives or truthfulness of the reporter. We could demonstrate that an injury was accidental or did not arise from intentional, reckless, or negligent acts. Improper police procedures or technical deficiencies also could form an effective defense to child abuse charges.
Child abuse charges have far-reaching consequences that could impact your family, work, and standing in the community. Never attempt to manage a child abuse investigation without professional assistance.
A Glendale child abuse lawyer is familiar with the complexities of these cases and can help you effectively navigate the legal process. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we will use our skills and experience to resolve the issue as favorably and discreetly as possible. Call our office today for a private consultation.