Are you looking at charges of child abuse in California? If so, then you need the help of an experienced attorney. Just being charged with or accused of this type of crime can make you feel isolated and alone. The truth is that Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell is on your side. We are here to protect your rights and to look for the best possible outcome for your case. Read on to learn more and then contact us at (909) 920-0908 for a legal evaluation.
The law’s definition of child abuse
According to California law, child abuse refers to willfully inflicting cruel, inhuman punishment or injury on a minor. The law also states that it isn’t a part of reasonable disciplinary action. Some examples of actions that could be considered child abuse include hitting, kicking, shaking, chocking, punching, pushing, or burning. Spanking is considered reasonable under California law – in most cases – and generally doesn’t qualify as child abuse.
Child abuse cases can be complicated
One of the reasons that you need a criminal defense attorney who’s experienced with child abuse cases is because they can be very complex. Note that in order for the jury or judge to find you guilty of “willful” actions, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily willfully intended for the results that occurred. It only means that the action you took was willful.
As an example, if you yanked on your child’s arm and they ended up with a dislocated shoulder, even if you didn’t intend for their shoulder to be dislocated, it would be considered willful because you intended to yank on their arm. On the other hand, if your child snuck up on you and you elbowed them in the nose because you were startled, that wouldn’t be willful, as the act was not your decision but rather a reflex.
Potential consequences of a child abuse conviction
The prosecution can decide to charge child abuse as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on your criminal history and the specifics of the case. Misdemeanor convictions can result in as much as a year in jail and a felony conviction can lead to up to six years in prison. In the event you’re convicted of child abuse twice within ten years, an additional four years of prison time can be added to your sentence.
There are defense options
The reality is that there are many reasons that child abuse allegations are sometimes made up. It could be a child or another relative feeling angry, jealous, or wanting revenge. It could be part of a nasty custody battle. In some cases, the injury to the child is the result of normal childhood activities, while in other cases it’s the result of normal discipline.
If you’ve been accused of or charged with child abuse then it’s time you got help. Contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 today to learn about your options. We are on your side from day one until your case is done. Call today to move on with your life.