Just being charged with child abuse can have a lasting and destructive impact on your reputation. If you are facing such a charge, San Antonio child abuse attorneys Christine & Mario Del Prado are here to assist you in bringing the best defense possible in order to protect your rights and good name.
Definition and Charges
Under Texas law a child is defined as anyone under age 14 years (Texas Penal Code § 22.04(c)(1)). The code section further indicates that a person can be charged with child abuse if he/she caused bodily injury mental injury to a child. The action, however, must have been committed with intention or occurred as a result of recklessness on the part of the defendant. As will be seen, the question of intent is one potential avenue that San Antonio child abuse attorneys Christine & Mario Del Prado may take in your defense.
Texas Family Code 261.001(1) further delineates those situations in which child abuse charges may be brought. Among these situations are:
- Threat of harm
- Failure to protect the child from physical or emotional injury
- Use of a controlled substance that endangers the child
- Providing a child with a controlled substance, or allowing him/her to use the substance
- Sexual conduct with the child
- Forcing/encouraging the child into sexual acts
Legal Requirement to Report
Certain individuals who, by the nature of their professions, have contact with children are required under the above Texas Family Law statute to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Such professions include teachers, counselors, day care providers, nurses, doctors, and juvenile detention personnel.
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code specifies the various penalties possible for a child abuse conviction. The penalty depends largely upon how extensive the injury is to the child, but also includes the degree of intention or neglect on the part of the defendant. A criminal negligence charge can carry a jail sentence of from six months to two years, along with a fine of up to $10,000. However, the penalties can be substantially higher—a first degree felony results in a fine and between 5 and 99 years in state prison.
Your San Antonio child abuse attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of your case in order to determine the best defense. In many instances defendants are, themselves, victims of false accusations from an angry spouse, or a spouse who is attempting to gain the upper hand in a custody battle. In other instances the actions of the defendant were misinterpreted so that a false perception was formed. The act that led to injury of the child may not have been intentional. Indeed, even if the child clearly suffered injury from abuse, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is at fault.
If You Are Facing Charges
We know how damaging it can be for individuals facing charges of child abuse. San Antonio sexual assault attorneys Christine & Mario Del Prado will do the utmost to help you through this tumultuous time of your life by providing the highest quality of legal services. We will work with you to protect your good name. Call us to arrange a free consultation today at 210-698-3533.