In Arizona, child abuse commonly understood as actively causing harm to a child. However, a person could also face these charges for allowing a child to be put in a situation where they were at a high risk of being harmed. Those with diminished mental capacity, such as vulnerable adults or elderly people, also fall under similar statutes regarding abuse.
If you are under investigation or are facing child abuse charges in Mesa, you need strong legal representation as soon as possible. Some of the most important moments in a case happen during the investigation phase. The experienced attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can assess the allegations against you and determine weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
There are multiple levels of severity regarding charges of abuse. The most serious charges involve intentionally causing harm to a child, or knowingly putting them in a scenario where they could expect to be harmed. This offense is a class two felony.
Another level of child abuse charges involves harming a child or putting a child at risk of harm due to recklessness, rather than intention. This constitutes a class three felony, which is still a high-level offense.
Finally, a class four felony involves actions that are far below the standard of reasonable care for a child. Negligence that puts a child’s health or well-being at risk is also considered a type of abuse. Our knowledgeable attorneys could further explain the levels of child abuse charges in Mesa, their accompanying penalties, and how to defend against them.
A report of child abuse will typically begin two types of investigations. For one, there will likely be a criminal investigation to determine the credibility of the accusations. Additionally, the Department of Child Services (DCS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) will also conduct an investigation focused on the child’s well-being and their living situation. If they feel that there is any ongoing or current danger, they will remove the child from the home.
It can be difficult to correctly navigate these two ongoing investigations. Generally, seasoned criminal defense attorneys will advise people not to talk to police or law enforcement. However, even if remaining quiet is the best thing for a criminal case, the DCS may interpret certain scenarios as dangerous and remove the child without the proper context.
As such, it is crucial to work with legal counsel that understands both criminal defense and juvenile law. An attorney can communicate important information or guide you through the process to put you in the best position to keep your family together and minimize the damage or exposure to any potential future criminal charges. At the Grand Canyon Law Group, our lawyers have experience dealing with DCS and CPS, and we can help Mesa residents accused of child abuse to navigate both the DCS/CPS and criminal sides of their case.
To remove a child from their home, the DCS only must have clear and convincing evidence of child abuse, rather than definitive proof. However, for any criminal charge, the prosecution must provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Physical markings on a child’s body often serve as evidence for these charges. However, there do not have to be markings for a person to be accused or convicted of child abuse in criminal court. The prosecution may also conduct a forensic interview with the child. However, this controversial tactic could result in inaccurate or false information given to the police or DCS workers.
In these cases, there is often a lack of objective evidence, such as accounts from third-party witnesses. Usually, only the alleged victim and the defendant know what occurred. As such, the state is typically willing to charge and move forward with limited evidence in these cases. However, there are many potential defenses that a skilled local attorney could use against child abuse charges.
These types of allegations can lead to severe penalties and devastation to families and should not be taken lightly. If you are facing child abuse charges or investigation in Mesa, you need the best legal defense to protect your reputation, freedom, and way of life. The attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group have the experience and persistence necessary to effectively support you throughout your case. Contact us today to learn how we could help.