If you have been accused of child abuse, you need the most assertive, effective legal counsel possible. As a “wobbler” offense under California law, an act of child abuse can be punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the amount of harm allegedly suffered by the child-victim. Being convicted of child abuse can be very damaging to one’s reputation, and can cause problems in personal relationships and potentially complicate legal proceedings such as a divorce or child custody proceeding. If you have been arrested for child abuse or think that you might be arrested due to something that has happened recently, now is the time to speak with a San Bernardino and Riverside domestic violence lawyer. You have the right to refrain from self-incrimination and the right to counsel, so it is important that you talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney before responding to police questioning. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we regularly defend individuals accused of child abuse and other domestic violence crimes, and we welcome the opportunity to meet your legal needs.
The crime of child abuse is defined under California Penal Code § 273d. Under this statute, a person can be found guilty of child abuse if the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant willfully inflicted cruel or inhuman physical punishment on a child and/or caused an injury to a child resulting in a traumatic condition. If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, he or she can be sentenced to up to a year in county jail. If the crime involves injuries such as bruising, welting, lacerations, or internal injury, the crime may be prosecuted as a felony. A conviction of felony child abuse can cause the defendant to be sentenced to several years in state prison. In cases of severe injuries (such as broken bones or brain damage), an even longer sentence is possible.Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Being convicted of any crime can lead to numerous negative consequences in the defendant’s life. In addition to incarceration and fines, a defendant may also be ordered to perform community service, undergo counseling, or check in with a parole or probation officer regularly for several years. Getting into additional legal trouble or failing a drug test could land the defendant back in jail and possibly result in additional charges. Being convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor, may have to be disclosed on job applications. Convicted felons can have substantial difficulty finding suitable work, especially in some particular fields, and may also be denied housing, educational opportunities, or the possibility of serving in the military. The right to possess a weapon and the right to vote may also be forfeited if a defendant is convicted of felony child abuse. A child abuse conviction may also jeopardize the defendant’s rights to interact freely with his or her children, especially the child who was the subject of the actions that led to the conviction.
Because so much is at stake in a child abuse case, it is important that a defendant be represented by seasoned legal counsel. Misunderstandings can happen, and a defendant can be wrongfully accused of abuse by an adult such as a medical professional or school employee who has a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse. A child can even make a false accusation out of anger or spite. In some cases, a parent may act in self-defense against a combative or unruly teenager.Speak to a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Riverside or San Bernardino
If you are facing criminal prosecution for child abuse or another serious crime, you need to understand your rights under the law. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we regularly help those in Riverside and San Bernardino defend themselves as zealously as possible under the law. While aiming for the best possible outcome in each and every case, we are always direct with our clients, being honest about the likelihood of a conviction under the circumstances of their particular case. We treat our clients the way that we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. To schedule an appointment with an attorney to learn more about how we can help you during this difficult time, call us at (951) 686-3457 or contact us online.