Virginia Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
Crimes against children are especially frowned upon by society and are aggressively prosecuted in Virginia courts. When you are facing child abuse or child neglect charges, you should have a seasoned criminal defense team on your side in order to protect your future and your reputation. These very serious charges require an effective and aggressive defense in order to ensure that your rights, your future, and your family members are fully protected from the ripple effect that the repercussions of a conviction could cause. Contact a qualified Virginia child abuse defense attorney if you or someone you know has been accused of mistreating a child.
Child Abuse Charges in Virginia
There are quite a few different acts that could lead to allegations of child abuse or neglect, including assault and battery against a child or leaving a child alone in a car. Under Virginia law, a person can be charged with child abuse if law enforcement believes that:
- The suspect is a parent, guardian, or person who is responsible for the child’s care;
- By means of intentional acts or failure to act, the suspect refuses to provide proper care necessary for the child’s health; and
- Due to act or neglect, causes or allows serious injury to the child that includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Broken or fractured bones
(b) Severe burns or deep cuts
(c) Mutilation (injury that would deprive the child of a limb or important body part)
(e) Forced ingestion of dangerous chemicals, substances, or objects
(f) Life-threatening internal injuries
(g) Maiming (injury causing permanent damage)
Child abuse, as described in the section above, is a Class 4 felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A suspect who is found guilty of child abuse can expect a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000.
A lesser charge of child neglect occurs if any parent or guardian’s actions or omissions in caring for their child reflect a reckless disregard for their welfare or safety. This offense is a Class 6 felony, which draws a prison sentence of one to five years, a discretionary jail sentence of up to 12 months, and/or up to a fine of $2,500. An additional lesser offense is outlined in Virginia Code Section 18.2-371, known in shorthand as “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” and referring to a broad array of potential conduct that is collectively punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If an individual, with an overt sexual intent, sexually abuses a child between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, then the perpetrator is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and also faces up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Virginia law also requires any medical professional, government worker, teacher, and religious official to report any abuse they may discover or reasonably suspect. If they fail in their duty to report their suspicions or give a false report, they may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. For repeat offenders of either crime, they run the risk of being charged with a Class 6 felony, depending on the seriousness of the offenses that are uncovered by law investigators.
Need for a Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
There are many different factors that can complicate a case of alleged child abuse and neglect. It is easy for outsiders to misconstrue certain actions and inject negative motivations into events they observe without knowing the full story. Even so, it is important to take child abuse charges very seriously. A conviction can lead to a permanent record, job loss, financial strain, and trouble with personal relationships.
When facing child abuse or neglect charges, your best chance at protecting your rights and avoiding the penalties associated with a conviction is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. These very serious charges must be effectively and aggressively defended in order to ensure that your rights and future are protected. Much of the defense strategy is based on investigating the facts, reviewing police reports, witness statements, social service records, other forensic information, and testimony, and then calmly present the case to a carefully-chosen jury. Things always look different when the court is able to stop and examine the true facts of a case. Child abuse and neglect have a way of looking different when an experienced defense lawyer puts the entire matter into focus.
Our experience fighting criminal charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia make them uniquely qualified to help you fight accusations of child abuse or neglect. Contact our law office today for a no-cost consultation to learn more about the charges and explore your options for defense.