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The term child abuse covers a wide spectrum, and any individual faced with such charges should be aware what it means. As with other states, child abuse laws in New York fall under the Penal Code. Anyone responsible for the care of a child can be faced with abuse and maltreatment charges if there if there is a report of such actions. Most allegations of child abuse come up during divorce and child custody cases.
Actions that qualify as abuse are those that inflict serious emotional, physical, or psychological harm to minors. Also, you can be guilty of child abuse if he/she allowed someone else to perpetrate these things. Childcare providers, parents, and guardians are some of the people that may find themselves dealing with cases of child abuse. The skills of an attorney in this field like those from Spodek Law Group are always great investments to ensure a proper defense.
Definition of Abuse
Anyone who is legally accountable for the care of an individual under 18 years should learn what constitutes child abuse. According to the law, any injury that is caused by other than an accident and results in the impairment of the physical and emotional health, disfigurement, or death amounts to abuse. A person is also guilty of the crime if his or her deliberate indifference leads to the mentioned types of injuries. Acts of sexual assault, allowing those acts, and creating circumstances that increase the risk of injury also fall under the definition of child abuse.
A report of child abuse and maltreatment can be brought forward by:
• Childcare workers
• School officials
• Law enforcement officers
• Medical and hospital staff
• Social service workers
• Residential care employees and volunteers or any other person with substantial information
An individual can report child abuse if he/she as reasonable suspicion that certain activities are putting a child in danger. Someone with personal knowledge of the facts like a parent or guardian can raise the alarm. The Office of Children and Services in NY is responsible for receiving complaints and investigating reports of child abuse.
Penalties for Child Abuse
The punishment for an individual charged with child abuse ranges on a broad scale because of the number of variables that influence sentencing. For one, the age of the child matters. The degree of injury, both physical and mental also determines the severity of the charge. A judge’s decision also depends on any allegations of sexual abuse. These circumstances determine if the accused will face felony offenses of lesser charges.
A case that is considered as a severe felony can result in a lifetime imprisonment, but less severe offenses can be classified as misdemeanors that may not require jail terms. Most cases of child abuse carry probationary sentencing or imprisonment of up to five years. Someone with a prior record can expect more serious punishment. An individual who is found guilty of a sexual offense in a child abuse case may also have to register as a sexual offender.
Parents and guardians can lose custody of their children or get supervised visits if found guilty. In severe cases, termination of parental rights may occur. New York also has mandatory reporting laws and anyone who fails to bring suspicions of child abuse to the authorities or give false information faces civil liabilities and a Class A misdemeanor.
Defense for Child Abuse Charges
Cases of child abuse are not uncommon, and the efforts of the federal and state government to ensure the protection of all minors are laudable. In some instances, individuals are accused without merit. Child abuse is judged harshly by the public court, and a parent may end up being stigmatized even without proof. A child abuse lawyer in Nassau County can provide the necessary assistance in such a situation. Establishing a solid defense against a child abuse and maltreatment charge is difficult, and a qualified attorney can pick one of several ways to approach it.
A good number of child abuse cases are untrue, especially when dealing with family problems. For example, a couple that is in the middle of a nasty divorce may start accusing each other of child neglect just to get the upper and. Child custody battles can get very ugly when the parents are not on the same page. A child abuse lawyer can argue that the allegations are a ploy to influence sentencing on another matter.
More often than not, a child may suffer injuries due to a legitimate accident and the person who suspected child abuse might not have all the information. A clumsy or hyperactive child may be prone to accidents that paint a wrong picture of maltreatment and neglect at home. Additionally, certain medical conditions can increase susceptibility to injury. Your Nassau County attorney can provide evidence of this for your defense.
Parents have the right to discipline their children in whatever way they see fit as long as those actions don’t cause physical harm. A guardian or parent may end up facing child abuse offenses due to disciplinary actions like spanking. When fighting these charges, an attorney can cite parental privilege, but this defense only works when dealing with minor injuries like bruising.
Child abuse charges can cause a lot of grief for the accused and the family; and so, finding the right legal representation in Nassau County helps a great deal.
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