Citrus Park Child Abuse Lawyer

Home /  Citrus Park Child Abuse Lawyer

Citrus Park Child Abuse Attorney

Among the most severe charges in the Arizona criminal justice system are those that allege harm to children. These can apply to situations where prosecutors believe a person has intentionally hurt a child or recklessly put a child in danger. Regardless of the specific allegations, these cases are serious matters where a mere arrest can have devastating consequences.

A Citrus Park child abuse lawyer is here to help you fight back and protect your freedom and reputation. From day one, the dedicated attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group are ready to argue for fair bail terms, dispute the need for protective orders, and present a powerful defense in court.

ALLEGATIONS OF ENDANGERING A CHILD

The criminal code in Arizona aims to protect vulnerable people in our society, including children. Prosecutors pursue child abuse cases vigorously, even in situations involving unintentional harm. If a prosecutor believes someone allowed a child to be in a dangerous situation, they can bring endangerment charges.

While these cases may not allege direct abuse, they still come with heavy consequences. For example, a person who faces an arrest for DUI with a child in the car may face enhanced DUI charges and allegations of child endangerment. Similar rules apply to situations that allow a child to face danger due to reckless or extreme behavior. A child does not need to suffer injuries for police officers to make an arrest. Those facing these allegations should immediately call a Citrus Park child abuse attorney to help resolve the situation.

CHARGES FOR INTENTIONALLY HARMING A CHILD

All accusations that a person has placed a child in danger are serious matters. However, the most concerning are those that fall under the state’s child abuse statute. Under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3623, intentionally inflicting physical or mental harm to a child under the age of 15 can lead to child abuse charges. Similarly, a person may face these charges if they encourage another to inflict harm.

PENALTIES FOR FELONY CHILD ABUSE

State law classifies these offenses as class 2 felonies. If this is a person’s first felony conviction and mitigating factors are present, the court must still sentence a person to a three-year minimum prison sentence. Aggravating factors may extend the sentence to a maximum of 12.5 years.

PROTECTIVE ORDERS FOR CHILD ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

Clearly, it is essential to fight back against these accusations at every opportunity. However, even a mere arrest for suspected abuse can bring harsh penalties. An alleged victim or their parents can petition a court to impose a protective order immediately after an arrest. These orders prohibit all contact between a defendant and the target of the alleged abuse. The skilled lawyers at our firm can help contest these orders and help a defendant mitigate the potential penalties of a child abuse charge.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN INSTANCE OF CHILD ABUSE IS REPORTED?

After child abuse is reported, the police will come in and do an investigation. Sometimes there is a delay in the reporting, meaning the abuse occurred but does not get reported for some time. This might happen when a parent physically abuses the child and nobody reports it at the time, but a school teacher sees the bruises at school some days later. When patrol officers respond, they will take an initial report, which will get forwarded to detectives who conduct an investigation, which may include taking photographs and a medical exam. Then, the detective will generally want to interview the suspect as well. They will eventually send the case into the district’s attorney’s office for potential charges.

POTENTIAL IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES

There are number of immediate consequences when someone in Citrus Park is charged with child abuse. Similar to incidents of domestic violence, a suspect could be arrested right away, booked into jail, and have an initial appearance in front of a judge and determine their release conditions.

Judges generally impose stricter release conditions on child abuse situations, especially those involving serious injury or sexual abuse. Judges are not afraid to impose high bonds on people or significant contact restrictions, like putting them in an electronic ankle monitor to make sure they will not go to places they should not be at.

POTENTIAL LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES

If someone is convicted for a serious child abuse felony, they could go to prison for years, and in some cases, the rest of their life. In other less serious cases, they could be on probation for 10 to 15 years, or perhaps even for life. In instances of sexual abuse of a child, the person may serve a prison sentence, but then they might have to be out on lifetime probation and register as a sex offender.

HOW CAN THE RESULT OF A CRIMINAL CHILD ABUSE CASE AFFECT A CIVIL CASE?

There are also some less-obvious consequences to a child abuse charge in Citrus Park. The evidence used in a criminal conviction can be used in a civil case, although a civil case does not always happen. For example, if a teacher abuses a student and is convicted, and the school knew about that teacher’s history or potential for causing injury, the student or a group of parents could file a lawsuit against the school – or potentially against the defendant. The evidence of the teacher’s criminal conduct could then be used as civil claim evidence.

If someone is found liable in civil court for some type of abuse or other issue, it is possible that information could be used in a criminal case. The burden is higher in the criminal case (it must be beyond a reasonable doubt), so just because someone is found liable in civil court, it does not automatically make them guilty in criminal court. Typically, a civil case will follow a criminal one, not the other way around.

CAN A CHILD FILE FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER?

Generally, a child cannot file for a protective order by themselves. If a criminal case is pending, a court can order release conditions that prevent the defendant from having any contact with the child victim. Additionally, a parent or another adult guardian can petition a court for an order of protection and name the child as one of the protected parties so the defendant cannot have any contact with the child, their home, school, or wherever else they typically frequent.

BEHAVIOR THAT CONSTITUTES CHILD ABUSE

Child abuse refers to anything that puts a child’s health, welfare, or morale in danger of being harmed. There is a whole range of child abuse statutes, ranging misdemeanors, all the way up to a Class 2 felony or even homicide if the child loses their life. The classification of child abuse depends on the act that is committed and also the result of that act.

If somebody endangers a child in a way that does not put them in jeopardy of death or serious physical injury, that may be charged as a misdemeanor like simple injury endangerment. Charges that are more serious, like recklessly causing the injury to a child or exposing the child to some circumstance that puts them in harm’s way, can be charged as a Class 6 felony. It could possibly be a Class 4 felony if it involves actions that are more substantial but still not life threatening.

On the other hand, if the abuse puts the child in danger of death or a serious physical injury, that could be only a Class 2 felony and considered a dangerous crime against children, if that child is under age 15. Those types of domestic violence crimes have serious consequences that could put a person in prison for many years.

EVIDENCE REQUIRED TO PROVE ABUSE

There is a wide array of evidence that could be used to prove child abuse. It will often involve photographs, as well as medical examinations and records. If a child has a broken bone or bruising, those injuries will be documented and investigated for the cause. There might be medical testimony from nurses or physicians, or from a medical examiner in the event of a death. Other possible evidence includes statements from witnesses, video footage, or other pieces of evidence preserved on somebody’s phone or social media, or even statements by the suspect themselves.

BENEFITS OF A CHILD ABUSE LAWYER

There is so much that a Citrus Park lawyer can do when defending against a child abuse charge. That includes being present for the release conditions and participating in the investigation. Even before a person is arrested, and police want to talk to the suspect or set up a one-party consent call, lawyers can prevent that from happening, and prevent the client from being interviewed or making incriminating statements.

If charges do get filed, lawyers want to be present at the initial appearance to argue for a client’s release and for better release conditions. From there, they represent their clients throughout the duration of the case. Attorneys want to get their hands on police reports, videos, photos, or any other evidence that may exist. They can scrutinize that evidence and get experts involved who could cast light on the problems with using that evidence.

In many situations, claims of child abuse are exaggerated or fake, especially in circumstances where there is a contested divorce or custody situation. It is not uncommon for a spouse to make false accusations at the other spouse, sometimes through their children, to get leverage in family court. There is a ton that can be done to assist the person and to mitigate those circumstances so they do not end up with a punishment that changes the rest of their life.

HOW DOES AN CHILD ABUSE ATTORNEY BUILD A DEFENSE?

Attorneys in Citrus Park should put together their own evidence that defends against the child abuse charge. They may want to interview different witnesses, call different experts, or critically evaluate the state’s evidence to poke holes in it. In a situation where a child is injured, while the state may have a theory about how that injury occurred, a lawyer could provide a different theory. It may be that the injury was an accident, caused by somebody else, or the result of the child accidently hurting themselves.

The key is to work closely with the client, look at the evidence, scrutinize it, and come up with ways to attack the case.

CONTACT A CITRUS PARK CHILD ABUSE ATTORNEY TODAY

Child abuse accusations must be taken seriously. Whether you are accused of intentional harm or allowing a child to be in a dangerous situation, you face felony charges with mandatory jail time upon conviction. Even a simple arrest can convince a court to impose restrictive protective orders.

A Citrus Park child abuse lawyer is ready to fight for you. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we can explain the state’s child abuse laws and determine which statutes fit your situation. We are also ready to obtain the evidence needed to contest the prosecutor’s allegations at every opportunity. Reach out to us now to get started building your defense.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help