An experienced child abuse defense lawyer is the essential when someone is accused of physically harming a child.
Child abuse is a broad terms that covers many different crimes committed against children but people most often use it to describe physical abuse. In some cases, the physical abuse of a child is very obvious and the remaining question is who committed the offense. But often child abuse allegations arise from innocent bruises or ambiguous statements by a child that are viewed as suspicious. I have a proven track record of successfully representing people as a child abuse defense lawyer who have been accused of abusing a child physically. If you anticipate being questioned about suspicions of child abuse, you should consult with a lawyer before agreeing to talk about it. This doesn’t just apply to questioning by police; teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses are all mandated reporters and what you tell them may be repeated to investigators from Children’s Services. You certainly should speak to a lawyer before meeting with an investigator from Children’s Services.
Injuries resulting from a fall or other accident may be mistaken as evidence of abuse by well-intentioned teachers, doctors, and others who interact with your child. Bumps, bruises and suspicious marks can be misinterpreted as excessive force. A child’s illness or medical condition may also be mistaken as evidence of abuse. With infants and toddlers, false accusations of child abuse may start in a doctor’s examining room or hospital emergency room, as seen in much-publicized shaken baby cases.
Child abuse accusations can be handled in different ways: they may start with an investigation by Children’s Services that may lead to a referral to the District Attorney’s Office who then initiates criminal charges. In some cases, the process starts with the police arresting an individual accused of abuse and a Child Services investigation follows. Are you looking for lawyers for child abuse cases? Even if you have not been charged yet, you need a Lowell or Boston child abuse defense lawyer to ensure that you are protected throughout the investigation.
A Child Abuse Defense Lawyer Can Help with These Types of Criminal Child Abuse Under Massachusetts Law
- Physical abuse is most often charged as Assault and Battery or Assault and Battery by means of a Dangerous Weapon. Assault and Battery can be punished by up to two and a half years in a county House of Correction. If an object is used for the assault and battery (like a belt), it would be charged as Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon which can be punished by up to two and a half years in a county facility or up to ten years in state prison;
- If the physical assault on a child causes injuries, the charge may be Assault and Battery on a Child in violation of Mass. General Law chapter 265 Section 13J. If the injury qualifies as “bodily injury,” the punishment is up to two and half years in the House of Correction or up to five years in state prison. If the assault causes “substantial bodily injury,” a person convicted can face up to two and half years in the House of Correction or up to fifteen years in state prison;
- A “child” under Section 13J is 14 years old or less;
- Shaken baby cases are typically charged as assault and battery causing substantial bodily injury or as murder;
- A person with care and custody of a child who wantonly or recklessly permits another to commit assault and battery that causes bodily injury to the child can be charged under Section 13J and can face up to two and a half years in the House of Correction. If that person permits another to cause substantial bodily the injury, the potential punishment is up to two and a half years in the House of Correction or up to five years in state prison. This means, for example, that a parent who looks the other way while another adult seriously assaults their child, can face charges;
- Failure to protect one’s own child from abuse that causes substantial injury or to protect them from sexual abuse may lead to a charge of Wanton or Reckless Behavior Creating a Risk of Serious Bodily Injury or Sexual Abuse to a Child in violation of Mass. General Law Chapter 265 Section 13L. This charge carries a sentence of up to two and a half years in the House of Correction. Section 13L applies to children up to 18 years old.