Can Parents Face Criminal Charges When Children Suffer Injuries?
Parents are required to protect and care for their children. However, accidents can happen in any household, and in some cases, parents may be worried that they could face criminal charges when their children suffer injuries. There are some situations where a parent may be charged with the offense of injury to a child, and it is important for parents to understand the circumstances that could lead to these charges and the penalties of a conviction. Contacting an attorney to defend yourself against these charges is a wise decision to ensure you can pursue a favorable case outcome.
Child Neglect and Abuse
In cases where a child's injury may have occurred because of neglect or abuse, a parent may face criminal charges. Child neglect may occur in situations where a parent or caregiver fails to provide the proper supervision, nutrition, healthcare, education, or protection for a child. Child abuse, on the other hand, involves intentional harm to a child through physical violence, emotional abuse, or sexual assault.
If there is evidence showing that a parent's actions or their failure to provide care and supervision directly caused harm to their child, then the parent may be charged with injury to a child. Suspicions of abuse or neglect may lead to investigations by Child Protective Services, which may decide to remove a child from their parent’s home to protect the child’s safety. In these situations, parents may need to address issues related to the custody of their children along with criminal charges related to the child’s injuries.
Injury to a Child Charges in Texas
Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code defines the offense of “Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual.” Under this law, a parent may face criminal charges if they intentionally caused a child to suffer injuries or if a child was injured because of the parent’s reckless or negligent behavior. Intentional acts may include child abuse, while recklessness or negligence may include failure to supervise a child, allowing a child to engage in risky activities, or acting in ways that the parent knew were likely to cause a child to suffer harm.
The penalties for this offense will usually depend on the seriousness of a child’s injuries. If a child suffered a serious bodily injury that put them at risk of dying or led to permanent disabilities, and the parent intentionally harmed the child, first degree felony charges will apply. If a child suffered serious injuries because of a parent’s recklessness, second degree felony charges will apply. A first degree felony conviction can lead to a prison sentence of five to 99 years, while a second degree felony may result in a two-to-20-year sentence.
If a parent is accused of causing other types of injuries to a child, they may be charged with a third degree felony if they acted intentionally or a state jail felony if they acted recklessly. A third degree felony conviction can be punished by a sentence of two to 10 years in prison, while a state jail felony may result in a jail sentence of six months to two years.
Contact Our Fort Worth Injury to a Child Defense Attorneys
If your child has suffered an injury, and you are concerned that you could be accused of child abuse or neglect and face criminal charges, The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can advise you of your rights and provide you with legal representation. We will work to help you defend against injury to a child charges or other accusations, and we will help you take steps to avoid issues that could affect your custody of your child and your family relationships. Contact our Tarrant County crimes against children defense lawyers at 214-303-9600 to set up a free consultation today.