San Leandro Child Abuse Lawyer
Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, and prosecutors and judges treat allegations of child abuse harshly as a result. If you are facing child abuse charges, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney to collect evidence on your behalf, accompany you during police interviews, and protect your constitutional rights in court. If you believe that you are under investigation, reach out to a San Leandro child abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
What Constitutes Child Abuse?
In Oakland and throughout California, there are various behaviors that constitute child abuse. An act of violence against a child that is likely to produce great bodily injury or death and causes unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering amounts to a violation of California Penal Code §273a(a), which can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the egregiousness of the conduct and the seriousness of the injuries involved.
An individual can also be prosecuted for child abuse even if no injury or act of violence was committed against the child. Under Penal Code §273a(b), when a person places a child in a situation that could lead to unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or where the health of the child can be endangered, that person can be prosecuted for child abuse and neglect. An example would be a parent driving under the influence of alcohol with their child in the vehicle.
Under child-neglect laws in California, a parent can also face criminal charges if their child is truant from school. If the child is chronically truant, the parent or legal guardian will be liable for a misdemeanor and a fine if they have not properly supported the child and ensured that they are attending school on a regular basis.
Investigation and Arrest Process
When an act of child abuse is reported, it will likely be investigated by the police, depending on the severity of the allegations. An investigation could result in the child being removed from the home and placed in the custody of another parent or grandparent, or a nearby relative. Usually, both police and Child Protective Services will investigate the abuse allegations.
If the police find probable cause of criminal contact, they will make an arrest which will typically lead to an arraignment, pretrial negotiations, plea/trial and then possible sentencing which includes possible incarceration, probation or parole, fines, counseling, restitution, and protective orders.
Penalties for Child Abuse in San Leandro
Potential consequences associated with child abuse could include a separation of the child from the parent, incarceration, fines, restitution, parenting classes, therapy, protective orders, and the like. The most immediate consequences consist of the initial arrest and service of a criminal protective order as well as Child Protective Services investigations.
Long-term consequences of a child-abuse conviction could include an impact on child custody and visitation. A child abuse conviction does not automatically terminate parental rights, but it will trigger a rebuttable presumption that the offending parent should not have custody of the child.
In addition to the child custody ramifications, a person accused of child abuse can face either felony or misdemeanor charges (or both). A felony child abuse conviction is punishable by two, four, or six years in state prison while a misdemeanor violation is punishable by one year in county jail. Child abuse not involving an act likely to produce great bodily injury or death is a misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in county jail.
A conviction of any degree could not only result in the abovementioned incarceration periods but can also be accompanied by probation or parole and additional terms and conditions such as counseling, parenting classes, stay-away orders, fines, restitution, and other collateral consequences such as deportation, denial of naturalization, denial of readmission, and even revocation of professional licenses.
Contact an Experienced San Leandro Child Abuse Attorney
It is critical for anyone who has been accused of a crime involving child abuse or neglect to contact an attorney immediately. A skilled and experienced San Leandro child abuse lawyer can not only assist in the defense of the charges but also help limit the exposure to the collateral consequences such as custody, immigration, and professional licensing.