Have you been charged with child abuse? Call expert child abuse defense attorney Torrence L Howell now.
California law defines child abuse as the willful infliction of cruel and inhuman punishment and/or injury on a minor that is not part of a reasonable disciplinary action. Hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, shaking, choking, or burning a child can all be considered child abuse. However, spanking is still considered a reasonable disciplinary action in most cases and therefore usually does not fall under the umbrella of child abuse. If you have been accused of child abuse, don’t go down without a fight. As your southern California child abuse defense lawyer, Torrence L Howell will defend your rights and protect you from unfounded allegations.
Important Nuances of Child Abuse Cases
It is important to note that in the case of child abuse, the concept of willfulness does not necessarily mean that the adult willfully intended the result of a given action, only that they did willfully intend to commit the action that ultimately led to the resulting injury. For example, yanking on a child’s arm and inadvertently dislocating their shoulder would be child abuse, because although you didn’t intend to cause injury, you did intend to yank on the child’s arm. However, accidentally elbowing a child in the face after they snuck up behind you would not be child abuse because neither the act nor the result was willful.
Consequences of a Child Abuse Conviction
Depending on the circumstances of the case and your prior criminal history, child abuse can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Because prosecutors like to be seen as tough on child abuse, they often try to elevate cases to felony charges. While a misdemeanor conviction will result in up to a year in county jail, a felony conviction will result in two, four, or six years in prison, with a possible sentence enhancement of four more years for individuals with prior child abuse convictions less than 10 years in the past. Both types of convictions can carry fines of up to $6,000, as well as probation and protective orders to keep the abuser away from the victim.
Another potentially devastating consequence of a child abuse conviction is that it can be used against you in a custody battle, which may prevent you from having joint custody or even unsupervised visitation with your kids.
Possible Legal Defenses for Child Abuse Charges
Sadly, many child abuse allegations are false. They may be cooked up out of a desire for anger, jealousy, or revenge on the part of the child or on the part of a relative with ulterior motives, such as an ex-spouse. In representing an individual accused of child abuse, a criminal defense lawyer will always consider this possibility first. The lawyer will seek expert testimony to determine if the injuries could have been caused by a normal childhood accident rather than abuse. A child abuse defense attorney can also argue that you were acting within your rights to discipline your child, or that you did not intentionally commit the act that resulted in the injury.
Meet Your Child Abuse Defense Lawyer in Southern California
With Torrence L. Howell as your child abuse defense lawyer, you can rest assured every possible avenue will be explored in your defense. To learn more about how Torrence L. Howell can help you, please call now to schedule your free initial consultation.