Columbia Child Abuse Penalties

A parent or guardian could face criminal charges of child abuse if they have inflicted physical or mental injury upon their child, allowed another person to inflict physical or emotional injury upon their child or engaged in omissions that present a substantial risk of injury to the child.

After child abuse is reported, the Department of Social Services (DSS) is contacted and an agent begins investigating the case. The DSS agent will decide whether the child needs to be taken into emergency protective custody or if the child is safe to stay within the home. If the child is not taken into emergency protective custody, a hearing is scheduled with the family court judge to determine the nature of the case, the safety of the child, and whether a guardian is appropriate to protect the interests of the child.

If you are facing Columbia child abuse penalties, call a seasoned domestic violence lawyer who can advocate on your behalf throughout the case.

Burden of Proof

Someone charged with child abuse will be facing a criminal case and a civil case. Although a criminal case involving child abuse is not directly related to the civil case, the outcome of a criminal case can affect a civil case. Each case has a different burden of proof. For the criminal case, the burden of proof is a beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof for a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence. These are two entirely different standards. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt requires much more proof.

Someone facing Columbia child abuse penalties should have a defense attorney who treats their criminal case seriously and builds the most appropriate defense. This is paramount because the defendant’s liberty is affected in the criminal case. The accused only faces seizures of assets or funds in a civil. In a criminal case, the person’s freedom, livelihood, and reputation are at risk.

Potential Jail Time

When someone is accused of child abuse, the criminal consequences are extremely serious. This is why contacting a dedicated attorney who is experienced in defending someone’s rights is crucial. An individual can face a felony charge that carries up to 10 years in prison for unlawful conduct towards a child. Cruelty to children charge is a misdemeanor that can result in up to 30 days imprisonment. Homicide by child abuse would be the closest charge to murder. A misdemeanor is going to carry a fine of up to $500, while someone charged with a felony may have to pay up to $5,000.

Long-Term Consequences of a Child Abuse Conviction in Columbia

When someone is arrested for child abuse, they are presumed innocent. However, with a conviction, there is the possibility the person is put on a child abuse registry. The child abuse registry has collateral consequences that are severe. The penalties the court can impose on the defendant include family matters, such as custody of the child and visitation.

For any felony conviction under federal law, a person cannot own or possess a gun. A conviction for being a child abuser can also hinder a person’s ability to get a decent job, housing, and would clearly harm their reputation in the community.

If you want to avoid Columbia child abuse penalties, obtaining a well-trained attorney may be your best option. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Columbia Child Abuse Lawyer