Child Abuse Lawyer in San Diego, CA
Building a strong defense for yourself against charges of child abuse is difficult. It can involve the testimony of the child and the media fee’s off of any negative depiction of a parent or child abuse offender. The reality of a child abuse allegation is felt immediately. Many people have issues remembering that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and that allegations do not immediately mean that the person in question actually committed any of the crimes charged.
Contact a child abuse lawyer immediately if you are facing these allegations. Child abuse allegations do not always claim that you physically beat or caused injury to the child in question. These allegations can include emotional abuse and sexual abuse allegations. A child abuse defense attorney can assist you in constructing a sound defense strategy that will create doubt for a jury and show your actions transparently.
Just as with many other crimes, you have rights in your defense. Finding a child abuse defense lawyer is imperative in protecting these rights as they can handle hostile or aggressive prosecutors and ensure you are receiving what you are entitled to such as due process. Defend yourself and have your side of these events heard in a fair and open forum.
Especially with child abuse allegations, your rights may immediately take a back seat without a lawyer to defend them. This is because child abuse laws are put into place in an effort to protect the child. However, the criminal justice system is constructed to vindicate any wrongfully accused and diminish false accusations. Not that false accusations don’t happen, and the wrongfully accused and convicted are exonerated regularly exposing the frequency of a jury finding someone as guilty when they were not. Don’t fall prey to these situations.
Many judges have heard the “I didn’t do it” defense and it is common in child abuse allegations. Working with a child abuse defense lawyer can help you prove a false allegation.
The frequency of false allegations of child abuse, particularly in dysfunctional families or parents that are struggling in a custody battle is unremarkable. Parents believe that a strategy to gain an upper hand in a custody battle is to claim the other parents abused the child. Similarly, grandparents seeking custody are found to make false allegations of child abuse in efforts to show the parents are unfit.
The best way to defend against child abuse if you are falsely accused to build an aggressive counter-attack. These allegations will show themselves as false through exposing the accuser as incredible or they have reason to make false allegations. This method of counter-attack is common, but it does create an even more toxic environment. Work with your child abuse defense attorney to find out if there are repercussions to any existing custody arrangement because of these false allegations. You will also want to immediately pursue changes to custody agreements after these allegations are exposed as false.
What is Child Abuse? Do I Need a Child Abuse Lawyer?
Child abuse as defined by the United States criminal justice system is the failure to act as a parent or caretaker resulting in the physical harm, injury, exploitation, sexual abuse, or death of a child. Included in the definition is also the failure to act when there is an immediate and definitive risk of serious harm.
This umbrella term can mean that child abuse or neglect can range from intentionally beating a child, to not moving a hot curling iron that the child is near. In recent years there has also been a significant increase in the charges of child abuse based on emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is difficult to measure, prove, or disprove without such an aggravated situation that led to therapy. But the difficulty in proving emotional abuse made from one parent and against another is in showing that any emotional abuse happened and that the child wasn’t coached or instructed to say it did. This puts both parents and the child abuse lawyers involved in a difficult situation.
In short, if you are accused of any of the above, you need a child abuse lawyer. The criminal justice system allows the court to appoint you a child abuse lawyer if you cannot afford one, but many people do not meet the income requirements for a court-appointed attorney. Keep in mind also that the criminal justice system moves very quickly, particularly when the case involves a child. Everyone wants this outstanding matter resolved as soon as possible. A child abuse defense attorney can assist you in a speedy process that has your best interests in mind.
Retain an Experienced Child Abuse Lawyer in San Diego, CA
Children are notoriously prone to accidents resulting in mild to severe injury. They climb in trees, wrestle with each other, and ride bikes. There is virtually no way your child will see adult life without experiencing a scraped knee, occasional sunburn, or having a finger or hand slammed in a door or drawer. Does this mean you should be liable for the felony offense of child abuse? No.
This is slightly different when the circumstance is so extreme that it becomes neglectful. Recall the definition of child abuse including the failure to act a parent or guardian and to prevent harm when there is a serious risk. A child slamming their fingers in a car door or being hurt jumping off a swing is very different from leaving your child in the car on a hot day.
Many courts debate consistently over where to draw the line between accident and neglect or abuse. This means that everyday parents face child abuse charges only to explain it was an accident and have the charge dismissed. It is difficult for parents to go through this trauma and more difficult for the child involved. If the family has multiple children, it can lead to them experiencing questioning from police and prosecutors as well.
Hire a child abuse defense lawyer immediately. Knowing that the event was an accident can lead to an easy defense once the proper evidence is gathered. A child abuse lawyer can ensure that you and your family are treated with care during the investigation and prosecution process. There is no reason for your child, or children to experience harsh lines of questioning over an accident.
Hospitals and schools are required to report anything that might appear as child abuse. This includes injuries as minor as scrapes or bruises. If your child is the daredevil in the family, jumping off swings or literally climbing the walls it’s no wonder if the occasional bruise comes up.
Another non-accidental situation is a child’s brawl. It is no secret that children fight, and the occasional fist fight or wrestling went too far can go unnoticed by many parents for a few minutes. But, minutes in a child’s fight can result in cuts, scrapes, bruises and sometimes a busted lip. The only upside to your child fighting is that there were two or more children involved.
In some cases, a child is injured because of a disease. One illness that finds its way into courtroom often in a child abuse case is “Brittle Bone Disease”. These cases are easily resolved because a simple diagnosis from a doctor is submitted as evidence. Where these cases become difficult, as many child abuse defense attorneys can attest, is when the disease is not easy to diagnose. Charges can become long, drawn-out battles while waiting for medical test results.
What if Child Abuse Charges Were the Result of Discipline, not Child Abuse?
So, you are a parent and your child was misbehaving. You spanked them as a form of discipline but when your child was talking about it at school the next today them teach reported child abuse. Is spanking child abuse? Can you discipline your child, or will the state always be there to slap your hands instead?
Yes, you can discipline your child. The rule of parental discipline is that however you choose to discipline your child is fine if it does not cause bodily injury, is reasonable and is not cruel or unusual. Usually, children speak of threats that are misheard and then reported. This can place considerable strain on the family unit, as well as the person reporting it. They are relying on the word of a child, but often the concern is that any actual abuse may not easily be exposed.
Teachers, administrators, and doctors all operate with the concept that it is better to over-report on potential child abuse than underreport. This is why there are so many false allegations of child abuse.
A parent has a right to discipline their children, it is called “Parental Privilege” and is one of the most common defenses used by child abuse defense attorneys. You will use the claim that you have the right to discipline the child within reason. The court will determine if the injuries are more serious than what is reasonable for at-home or in-care discipline. Parent privilege is also commonly used by teacher or babysitters who as “loco parents” or as someone standing in the place of the parent.
Speak with your child abuse defense lawyer to understand how this can affect your case. If you are a parent placing charges against a teacher or babysitter for child abuse and they are using this defense you should also consult a child abuse lawyer. Discuss with them the likelihood of this defense working and how it can affect your child.
Munchausen by Proxy, a Mental Illness
There is a mental illness which has only recently grabbed media attention, and it is because of the extent of abuse and neglect children suffer while under the care of someone with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Munchausen Syndrome is a mental illness where the person believes, genuinely, that they have some severe illness. In some cases, the illness isn’t severe, but it is constant. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is when this person projects these symptoms onto another person in their care, usually a child.
These onset incidents where a caregiver or parents lie to doctors and medical staff about the symptoms their child is allegedly experiencing. The end result is often a severe loss of quality of life for the child because of a battery of medical tests and procedures. Usually, people do this to bring attention to themselves or others.
Because this is a mental illness it is a defendable position in cases of child abuse, but it is difficult to prove. The burden of proof for mental illness falls on the defense, then after it is identified the defendant is mentally ill, the prosecution must show they were mentally competent at the time of the abuse.
A child abuse defense attorney can explain what evidence is necessary for this defense strategy. Usually, medical data and psychological examinations are used to show the progression of the mental illness.
The Process and Child Protective Service’s Role
From the beginning, you should take all allegations seriously whether they are false or not. Penalties for child abuse are serious and can include:
- Loss of government or state licenses
- Loss of employment
- Denial of a future employment
- Loss of custody
- Legal fees
These are the potential ramifications for the allegations you’re facing. A child abuse lawyer can assist you in understanding what risk you run of each possible outcome. Hiring a child abuse defense attorney is something-something you should have from the start. Make immediate calls and begin interviewing any that fit your needs.
During the investigation part of the process know that you can cooperate with police without answering every question. Always have a child abuse defense lawyer present to assist you in knowing which questions can incriminate you and which are easy to address.
Child protective services should receive the same treatment as police. You can answer questions, act compliantly, and assist in the investigation without incriminating yourself. Be cautious as the best interest is in the safety of the child, one answer you give could provide multiple interpretations than what you intended. Child protective services are notorious for reading too far into statements from parents and questioning children harshly and without parents present. Although police can question your children without an adult present given the nature of the allegations, your child abuse defense attorney can sit in and your children can decide to not answer questions they aren’t comfortable with. Child protective services however often work to create an environment of safety for the children that is false. When kids are asked questions in their home, they can be directed to answer specific ways with coercion that police are trained against using on children.
Above all else throughout the process, maintain your visitation. Many parents struggle throughout the process not only because of the stress of a trial and the prosecution but because they don’t see their children. Child protective services are regularly required to fully investigate households with abuse allegations. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit your child unless a judge has directed you to stay away. If you insist on maintaining your visitation it can result in a stronger bond with your child throughout the investigative process. Your child is likely answering questions regarding your relationship on a regular basis and the less you are there the easier it is for others to warp or distort their image of you. As a parent, you are entitled through constitutional right to visit your children even if they are removed from your custody. A child abuse lawyer can assist you in protecting these privileges and maintaining your parental rights.
Finally, maintain your evidence by documenting everything. Although child abuse seems as if the investigation would go over simply, that is not the case. A child abuse lawyer will inform you that you are largely responsible for any evidence you want to see in court. This includes what occurred while interacting with your children, anytime you speak with child protective services and your interactions with police officers. /these interactions can show your compliance if the prosecution attempts to claim you refused to answer questions.
Documentation is also important for any custody issues you may experience after the charges are resolved. If you know you have an upcoming custody battle, then showing compliance will only benefit your case. You can also keep track of any classes or groups you attend. These are regularly used to show that you’re attempting to improve yourself as a parent.
Have a Child Abuse Defense Attorney Review your Case
There are multiple defenses available to you and you have the right to explain what happened. The circumstances relating to your case and the results which make it unique are worthy of consideration when your case starts. The legal help you need is available, and when facing serious charges such as child abuse there is no reason to delay. Use a child abuse lawyer to gain an understanding of your rights and how the laws of your state apply to your case.