Allegations of child abuse are some of the most serious a person can face in the state of Texas. Due to the extreme stigma surrounding accused child abusers, juries are likely to punish an alleged child abuser to the fullest extent of the law. When it comes to building a defense for someone who has been accused of child abuse, the evidence and intention of the person charged are key features to present to the court. With the help of a trained San Antonio Child Abuse Defense Attorney, you can face these charges with your head held high.
Defining Child Abuse
Texas Penal Code § 22.04 defines the crime of child abuse as intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury. This definition covers physical abuse and sexual abuse, two crimes which carry the potential for heavy sentencing.
Abuse by Omission
Not every case of child abuse is the result of intentionally harmful behavior. Abuse by omission can be committed by adults who have a legal or statutory duty to act and those who have assumed care, custody, or control of a child. These individuals are bound by a legal responsibility to protect, feed, shelter, and provide care to a child. Regardless of a person’s intention to harm a child, failure to provide these essentials may be deemed child abuse by omission.
Penalties for Child Abuse in San Antonio, TX
The penalties for child abuse in San Antonio, TX are reliant on the mental state of the individual accused of the crime. In a court of law, the prosecution will argue that the defendant acted in one of the following mental states:
- Knowingly: the defendant was aware of their actions and the potential consequences.
- Intentionally: the defendant sought to harm the child through their conduct or the consequences of their conduct.
- Recklessly: the defendant is aware of the consequences of their conduct but disregards the possibility of the resulting harm.
- Criminal Negligence: the defendant was aware of the unjustifiable risk that resulted from their conduct.
State Jail Felonies
Reckless or criminally negligent behavior can result in a state jail felony, which carries the possibility of 24 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Third Degree Felonies
The maximum punishment for causing bodily harm to a child knowingly includes up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Second Degree Felonies
If the defendant is found to have caused serious mental or bodily injury to a child recklessly, they can face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to 10,000.
First Degree Felonies
Being charged with a first degree child abuse felony indicates that the abuser caused serious injury intentionally and knowingly. Reserved for the most heinous crimes, punishment can include up to 99 years or life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Contact Our Child Abuse Defense Attorney
If you are currently facing allegations of child abuse or fear that you soon will be, our San Antonio child abuse defense attorney wants to hear from you. Our firm handles all cases with compassion and fights aggressively to defend the rights of our clients. If you are curious about what the Law Office of Jesse Hernandez can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.
San Antonio Office: 3107 Broadway Street, San Antonio, Texas 78209. (210) 807-8656.
Austin Office: 2025 Guadalupe Street Suite 260, Austin, Texas 78705. (512) 982-4798.