Homicide by Child Abuse in Columbia

Homicide by child abuse is an incredibly serious crime. It is also a common false accusation. Regardless of whether or not someone did it, there can be lifelong effects of such an arrest or conviction. Your reputation could be damaged even if you are innocent. You can face many years in prison or be overcharged if you do not have the right team to assist in your defense.

It is important to fully understand your options when you are experiencing homicide by child abuse charges. Such charges are drastically different than many other crimes because it does not come in degrees, meaning you are either guilty or not guilty. The legal system is complex, and it is too risky to navigate it alone. When you are facing accusations of homicide by child abuse in Columbia, you must hire an experienced attorney to defend you.

How Can Local Laws Affect a Child Abuse Homicide Case?

The South Carolina Code §16-3-85 defines several criteria that must be present for someone to be convicted of homicide by child abuse:

  • The defendant’s actions or inaction directly caused the child’s death
  • the child is under eleven
  • The crime happened while the defendant was committing child abuse or neglect
  • The death happened due to circumstances showing an extreme indifference to human life

The same section goes on to codify that people who assist in the commission of homicide by child abuse can also be responsible for the crime. The person must have knowingly aided and abetted another to commit child abuse or neglect, resulting directly in the death of a child.

SC Code §16-3-85 also clarifies that child abuse or neglect occurs when any person’s act or omission results in harm to the child’s physical health or welfare. It also notes that harm is when someone inflicts physical injury or allows physical injury to be inflicted upon a child, including injuries as a result of excessive corporal punishment.

Harm also occurs when the person fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care to a child, causing a physical injury or condition resulting in death. Finally, harm is also when a person abandons the child, which causes the child’s death. When you are looking for a Columbia attorney to represent you in a homicide by child abuse case, secure a legal team that understands the importance of every element that must be present for a conviction.

Possible Consequences of Homicide by Child Abuse

Homicide by child abuse is an all-or-nothing charge because it does not have varying degrees affecting sentencing. There is no lesser included crime, unlike many other charges. For example, when a defendant is accused of homicide, the court can find them guilty of lesser crimes like manslaughter. There are no varying levels of fault in homicide by child abuse cases. The defendant and prosecution can still come to an agreement to reduce the charge to a lesser one, like child-abuse, manslaughter, or assault. As a result, the defendant can have a dramatically reduced sentence.

When a court finds someone guilty of committing homicide by child abuse, they face a penalty of jail time ranging from 20 years to life. When a person is guilty of aiding and abetting another person knowingly to commit homicide by child abuse, they can be penalized with imprisonment of no less than 10 years to no more than 20 years.

A judge must consider aggravating circumstances when sentencing a defendant, such as the defendant’s history of neglecting or abusing children under the age of 11. Some mitigating circumstances can lessen a defendant’s guilt and sway the judge to give a lighter sentence, such as the defendant’s history of mental illness or having no prior criminal record. These penalties can be severe, and a Columbia attorney can help get a lighter sentence when a person is charged with homicide by child abuse.

Consult With an Attorney in Columbia Today About Homicide by Child Abuse

Your life completely changes after you are accused of homicide by child abuse in Columbia. Sometimes, defendants can face overwhelming and invasive media coverage. Sometimes, the police investigation does not accurately portray the complete facts. A dedicated legal team can make the biggest difference in the outcome of your current circumstances. Call our law office today to get help.

Columbia Child Abuse Lawyer