Few crimes are dealt with more harshly than child abuse. Suppose you are accused of a crime that falls under those statutes in Missouri. In that case, you should seriously consider hiring the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center to begin planning your defense. In addition to the criminal penalties you might suffer if you’re convicted, you may temporarily lose custody of your children while dealing with the court system.
If you have been accused of or investigated for any type of child abuse, you should immediately contact a reliable local law firm to advise you of your rights and guide you through your case. In certain situations, they may be able to help you avoid charges altogether.
To understand how seriously you should take the charges, you need to know what qualifies as child abuse and some possible consequences if you’re convicted.
What Qualifies as Child Abuse in MO?
When facing child abuse charges or accusations of neglect, you must realize what that consists of and who is required to report suspected incidents.
In Missouri, child abuse is “any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody, and control, except that discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse.”
When certain professionals suspect that child abuse is occurring or has occurred, they are obligated, by law, to report it to the state. Mandatory reporters include:
- Child Care Workers
- Clinic and Hospital Personnel
- Detention Center Personnel
- Juvenile Officers
- Law Enforcement Officials
- Medical Professions: Doctors, Dentists, Optometrists, and Nurses
- Mental Health Professionals
- Social Workers
If you believe someone is the victim of child abuse, contact the Missouri Department of Social Services or call the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-392-3738. You should dial 911 if there is a threat of immediate danger.
If, however, you are accused of child abuse, you should hire a skilled MO law firm with experience defending similar cases.
Potential Ramifications of a Child Abuse Conviction
If you are convicted of the crime of child abuse, it will be a felony conviction without the chance of parole or probation until you have served at least one year in prison. The potential penalties are as follows:
- Class C Felony child abuse penalties include 1 to 7 years imprisonment.
- Class B Felony child abuse penalties include 5 to 15 years of imprisonment.
- Class A Felony child abuse penalties include 10 years imprisonment to life.
A child abuse crime is prosecuted as a Class B felony if it results in serious emotional or physical injuries. It’s a Class A if the abuse causes the victim’s death. Whether or not you feel guilty of child abuse, if you are accused, it is a serious situation. You require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
Avoiding Child Abuse Charges
Child abuse lawyers in Missouri with a thorough understanding of the state laws and the experience of handling similar cases may be able to offer a strategy to ensure you see no repercussions. Whether you let your temper get the better of you or your actions were misunderstood by a concerned neighbor, the right law firm can represent your case in court.
The earlier you contact a criminal defense lawyer in your case, the better. The more time they have to build your defense, the less likely it will go to trial. Call us for a free consultation today!