Child Abuse Defense Lawyers Maryland
The Maryland legal system gives children their own special place in regards to the law, as many children do not yet have the ability to care for themselves and make their own sound choices yet in life. Parents or guardians are placed in charge of caring for the child in terms of guidance and making sure the child makes the proper choices that he or she may need to make, and during the course of this process discipline will often be deemed necessary. Discipline teaches children lessons in proper and improper behavior, and forms of discipline will be different from family to family and dependent upon the situation at hand. While spanking, restriction of privileges, and confinement will sometimes be deemed necessary by a parent or guardian, other manners of discipline may be deemed abusive by law and the court system may then intervene for the sake of the child. If you are facing charges of Maryland child abuse laws you need the help of our Maryland child abuse defense attorneys.
Charges Associated With Child Abuse
What is considered abuse may vary from state to state, but generally any act that will damage or severely harm a child in any way is against the law. Sometimes these laws will specifically consider child abuse, and other times they make consider acts specifically in regards to the law. However, although the laws may differ, they all consider cruelty against a child to be a crime. This cruelty may be a physical attack, mental abuse, or neglect, but they are all considered to be outside of the realm of what is considered to be acceptable discipline.
Many times, a child abuse case arises out of a situation of discipline. If a parent, guardian, or other caregiver disciplines a child in a way that is considered excessive or unreasonable, they may face charges of child abuse. These cases will often be considered individually, as each set of circumstances will be different from one case to another and the parent or guardian’s actions will be in question as to whether or not they had the child’s best interests in mind. Several different things will be considered in such cases, some including:
- • The age of the child
- • The severity of the action that lead to the discipline
- • The severity of the discipline
- • Extent of harm or potential harm that the child may have suffered
- • Sociocultural background
Because each case is so vastly different from one another, many different factors need to be considered to judge each individual case fairly.
Assault against a child is normally a serious offense, and children are protected from assault by a state’s child abuse laws. Whether the injuries incurred are severe or minor, assaults against children are prohibited by law in order to protect children from excessive physical harm. Discipline cases involving assault are judged on an individual basis, as the entire situation must be taken into account before a child abuse judgment can be made.
Verbal threats of assault are also considered abusive in many states, as it can greatly damage a child’s mental and emotional well-being. These verbal attacks can be committed by a parent, guardian, or caregiver, and depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation, they may lead to child abuse charges.
Neglect is one form of child abuse that can be particularly damaging depending on the situation, and while accidents may happen, those that occur due to negligence or carelessness on the part of the parent or guardian may be considered criminal. For instance, leaving children who are too young in a home by themselves where accidents may occur can be considered neglect, as the action of leaving them alone is one that can be deemed negligent. Failing to give a child proper care can also be considered negligence, as the consequences for these actions may prove damaging to the child.
Sexual abuse against a child is normally in a league of its own, and criminal charges for these actions are typically the most severe. Sexual abuse can not only cause a child physical harm, but lifelong mental harm as well, and these acts can be committed by force, bribery, coercion, demand, or by a breach of trust. Children of any age are not considered legally able to give consent to any type of sexual activity, and sexual abuse against a child will often carry harsh penalties.
Criminal Penalties For Child Abuse
A child abuse charge may come with either a felony or misdemeanor penalty or penalties, and the severity of the penalty will directly reflect the severity of the crime. For instances where the child suffered extensive harm, a felony charge will most likely be faced, and for instances where the child was not found to have suffered too greatly, a person may face a misdemeanor charge instead. Cases of sexual abuse against a child will almost always carry felony level penalties. Some penalties a person may face for child abuse charges are:
- • Jail or prison time – For misdemeanor cases, a person may face jail time for up to 1 year if convicted on child abuse charges, and for felony cases, this could be 1 to several years spent in prison. These sentences of incarceration are typically very common in cases of child abuse charges.
- • Probation – Child abuse charges will often come with probation sentences that will typically range from 6 months to 1 year. If the probation has been violated in any way, it can be turned into a jail sentence or other penalties may be faced.
- • Fines – Whether a child abuse charge is considered to be at the misdemeanor or felony level, fines will often be imposed. These fines can range greatly in amount, with felony convictions carrying the largest fine amounts; while a misdemeanor charge may only carry a fine of a few hundred dollars, a felony conviction’s fine will often be several thousand.
Because child abuse carries such serious charge and penalties, it is always recommended that anyone facing these charges seek a skilled defense attorney in their case. Each child abuse case will vary greatly from one situation to another, so it is important to be mindful of which laws may be in question in regards to particular circumstances. Defense attorneys in the state of Maryland are well versed in child abuse laws, and they work to represent their clients in a way that gives them the fairest judgment possible.