Child abuse is a serious crime in California that can result not only in criminal charges, but also losing custody of your son or daughter. If you have been accused of this serious crime, San Diego child abuse lawyer Peter M. Liss can help you fight the accusations so you can keep your family together.
The Different Types of Child Abuse
It is important to realize that there are many forms of child abuse under California law. Abuse can occur physically, mentally or sexually. Child neglect is even a form of abuse that occurs when a parent or legal guardian fails to provide proper attention to the needs of their child, such as refusing medical care when necessary. You can even be charged for leaving a child alone or in a car, pranking a child with laxatives, or for using drugs in front of a child or while breastfeeding. Each case is different, which is why it is so important to only approach these charges with the help of a top defense lawyer.
Child Abuse Charges in California
Each type of abuse will be handled in a different manner and some are felonies while others are misdemeanors. For example, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child under 14 in the car will result in a mandatory sentence of 48 hours in jail. If prosecutors believe the child was likely to have suffered great bodily harm as a result of your driving, you may be charged with felony child endangerment, which will require you to undergo one year of parenting classes, among other penalties.
Consequences of These Charges
Not only do you face arrest and prosecution for these accusations, but Child Protective Services (CPS) will also investigate and may remove your child from the home. The criminal court may also bar you from seeing your child. These consequences can destroy your family, which is why it is so important you work with a top child abuse lawyer in San Diego.
Fighting Abuse Charges
One of the biggest problems with child abuse cases is that well-meaning people often misinterpret innocent occurrences as signs of abuse. If a child has a black eye from getting hit by a baseball, for example, many people will take it as a sign that he or she was hit by a parent. Because children often try to cover for their parents in child abuse situations, police may not believe that the injury was caused by an accident.
It is important to recognize that while California does allow religious exemptions to child abuse and neglect cases (including those that involve the denial of care to children who need medical treatment), these exemptions only apply in misdemeanor cases. If you are charged with a felony, you cannot plead a religious defense. This is why you should not attempt to defend yourself if you have been accused of such a crime.
Call a San Diego Child Abuse Attorney Today
If someone has accused you of child abuse, it is critical you contact a lawyer as soon as possible, even if you believe the situation will be resolved before charges are pressed. If you have any questions or are ready to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.