Oakland Child Abuse Lawyer
Child abuse is a very serious offense in Oakland. Law enforcement and the legal system commonly move swiftly to preserve a child’s welfare. A person who has been charged with a child abuse offense may strongly benefit from contacting an Oakland child abuse lawyer to begin building a credible defense.
A dedicated domestic violence attorney could look into the alleged incident and potentially identify different legal options. In a child abuse violation case, proceeding to court without legal representation could lead to losing child custody or visitation rights.
How is Child Abuse Defined in Oakland?
Generally, there are two kinds of child abuse such as neglect and abuse. Neglect could be viewed as allowing a child to be placed in circumstances that may be dangerous to their health or safety, while abuse is typically inflicting punishment that is “unjustifiable.” While the law does not typically stipulate that a person cannot use corporal punishment or spank their child, it generally means that a person may not willfully inflict or permit unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child. For more information about child abuse offenses and how the courts treat them, reach out to a seasoned defense lawyer.
Understanding the Phases of a Child Abuse Report
After an instance of child abuse is reported, the police may investigate it and possibly take statements from witnesses who might have been at the scene where the incident took place or was discovered. These witnesses may include mandatory reporters who could have reported suspected violence such as doctors, nurses, teachers along with the children themselves. They may take photographs and write reports and send them over to a prosecutor. Typically, the children could be interviewed in a special setting with an investigator who is trained in interviewing children and making them comfortable. The children may also be placed in foster care or in the care of a family member while the case awaits further investigation. Child protective services are typically conducting their own investigation, visiting the home, and interviewing other household members and witnesses. There may also be a juvenile dependency proceeding that is running parallel to the criminal case as well.
Civil and Criminal Child Abuse Cases
In some instances, criminal and civil child abuse cases may influence each other. A divorce is one type of case that may be strongly influenced by a child abuse case in criminal court. A child abuse accusation may negatively influence a person’s child custody arrangement when filing for a marriage separation. Although the courts will not normally completely cut off someone’s parental rights in such a case, they may severely limit them until parenting classes, therapy, and supervised visits have shown progress to a point that less restrictive visitation is in the child’s best interest. However, it is also possible for a court to issue no-contact protective orders depending on the circumstances of the child abuse allegation.
Civil cases may also influence a criminal court case. A civil case involving child abuse may affect the criminal case if the two cases happen at the same time because anything stated in the civil or family case could be used against the accused in criminal court. Applying a person’s Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination may positively impact a person’s case. In other words, individuals have the right to remain silent. This typically means delaying a person’s statements in a civil case could benefit their criminal case. Someone who is charged with child abuse and has a simultaneous or potential civil case may want to consult an experienced Oakland child abuse lawyer before attending any court proceedings for either case.
What are the Potential Consequences of a Child Abuse Conviction?
The potential immediate criminal consequences associated with child abuse may include jail, removal of the children, and involvement of Child Protective Services. The accused could lose all or part of their parental rights while the matter is pending and thereafter unless reunification is permitted. It is also considered, for immigration purposes, a crime requiring deportation, so it can have very serious collateral consequences for non-citizens.
Additionally, a child abuse conviction may influence a person’s current and future employment. Employers frequently conduct a background check and a criminal record, especially one regarding child abuse offenses may affect eligibility for positions including teaching or other child care professions. A child abuse accusation could also be deeply damaging to a person’s reputation as well as their career. Someone facing charges should contact a knowledgeable Oakland child abuse lawyer who could help refute the charge in court.
How Could an Oakland Child Abuse Attorney Help
A person accused of abusing a child may want to contact a tenacious Oakland child abuse lawyer immediately. Consequences could be extremely severe and long-term. It is a crime that may result in criminal protective orders, termination of parental rights, and incarceration. The Oakland court system could become complicated fast and a person who does not thoroughly understand the law around child abuse cases may negatively impact their case by attending a court hearing without legal counsel.