Child abuse or allegations of injury to a child in Georgetown can often arise from ordinary discipline of a child by a parent. Texas law requires every person to report suspected child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Anyone who fails to do can be charged with a misdemeanor or state jail felony offense.
Law enforcement officers will then investigate the slightest report of discipline or physical abuse by any witness, such as spanking a child or any kind of mark or bruise on the child. Therefore, parents, family members or caretakers of a child are often surprised and shocked to learn they the subject of child abuse investigations.
If you have been accused of child abuse or causing injury to a child, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgetown who will help you identify your best legal strategy. Remember, criminal charges for child abuse or causing injury to a child do not have to result in a conviction. The state prosecutor must prove you committed every element to the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge or jury has any doubt in their mind, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed.
Georgetown Child Abuse Lawyer
If you have been charged with a child abuse offense in Georgetown, or any of the surrounding areas in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, Killeen, Temple, Belton or Harker Heights, contact Price & Twine, PLLC
Attorney Michael J. Price is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ domestic violence laws and will make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Call Price & Twine, PLLC for a free consultation at (512) 354-1880 about your child abuse allegations.
Definition of Child Abuse in Texas
According to Tex. Penal Code Child Abuse § 22.04, an individual can be charged with injury to a child, or child abuse, if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence cause:
- Serious bodily injury,
- Serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury; or
- Bodily injury.
Texas law defines serious bodily injury as injury to a person that causes impairment or loss of any body part or organ permanently or for a lengthy period of time, or any injury that will likely cause death.
An individual who has a legal or statutory duty to act, or someone who has assumed care for a child, but fails to act on behalf of, or care for the child can also be charged with child abuse.
Child Abuse Mental States in Georgetown
An individual who is charged with child abuse must first have a certain mental state, or act intentionally, recklessly, knowingly or with criminal negligence. Mental states are unique to each person and different for everyone, so it can be difficult for the state prosecutor to prove the alleged offender has the specific mental state. The mental states for child abuse offenses, as defined in section 6.03 of the Texas Penal Code are listed below.
- Intentionally – An individual acts intentionally if they commit some act and it is in their desire or conscious objective to engage in the conduct, or to cause the result of the conduct.
- Knowingly – An individual acts knowingly, or with knowledge, if they commit some act and they are aware their conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result of the conduct.
- Recklessly – An individual acts recklessly if they commit some act and they are aware of their conduct or the result of their conduct, but consciously disregard the possibility the result will occur.
- Criminal Negligence – An individual acts with criminal negligence if they ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur.
Child Abuse Penalties in Georgetown
An injury to a child offense can result in a felony of the first degree conviction, which is punishable by five to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000, if the alleged offender acted intentionally or knowingly and caused serious bodily injury or serious mental injury.
An injury to a child offense can result in a felony of the second degree conviction, which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, if the alleged offender acted recklessly and caused serious bodily injury or serious mental injury.
An injury to a child offense can result in a felony of the third degree conviction, which is punishable by two to ten years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, if the alleged offender acted intentionally or knowingly and caused bodily injury.
An injury to a child offense can result in a state jail felony conviction, which is punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000, if the alleged offender acted recklessly and caused bodily injury.
An injury to a child offense can result in a state jail felony conviction, which is punishable by a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine up to $10,000, if the alleged offender acted with criminal negligence.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Round Rock Child Neglect Attorney
Contact Price & Twine, PLLC today for a consultation about your child abuse charges throughout Williamson County in Texas. Michael J. Price is an experienced Georgetown criminal defense lawyer who will make every effort to fight the allegations against you.
Contact Price & Twine, PLLC at (512) 354-1880 or complete an online contact form for a consultation about your child abuse allegations throughout Williamson County and Bell County in Texas.