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Tarrant County child abuse defense attorney

The way that parents raise their children is evolving with each new generation. One issue that has become especially controversial in recent years is corporal punishment or using physical force such as spanking as a form of discipline. Whatever your personal opinions are regarding corporal punishment, it is important to understand how Texas law differentiates between punishment and abuse. Individuals who physically punish children in a way that crosses the line into abuse can face criminal charges for domestic assault, injury to a child, and other crimes against children.   

Definition of Family Violence According to the Texas Family Code

Texas law defines “family violence” as actions that are intended to result in bodily injury, physical harm, or assault. Abuse is defined in the Texas Family Code as:

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Fort Worth child abuse and neglect defense attorney

Many parents who are contacted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) are shocked when they realize that they are being investigated for potential child abuse or neglect. While many child protective investigations are the result of justified concerns regarding children’s safety, some investigations are the result of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. If you are currently facing accusations of child neglect, child abuse, or domestic violence, it is possible that you will be investigated by the DFPS. Therefore, it is important to understand how Texas law handles these types of accusations of crimes against children

Allegations of Child Abuse or Neglect

According to Texas law, anyone who reasonably believes that a child has been neglected or abused must report the possible mistreatment to law enforcement or the DFPS. The DFPS is required by law to investigate these reports and make a determination about the validity of the accusations.

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Tarrant County child abuse defense attorney

The terms “domestic violence” and “abuse” are used so often, it can be hard to know exactly what they mean. For example, is spanking your child after he or she misbehaves considered child abuse? What about forcefully grabbing your child’s arm when he or she is about to run into a busy street? Can non-physical actions like shouting at a child result in domestic violence charges? Being convicted of a crime against a child can result in life-changing consequences. You may lose the right to spend time with your child or may only get to see him or her under close supervision. You may even face years in prison. If you or a loved one has been accused of child abuse, child sexual abuse, injury to a child, domestic violence, or a similar crime, speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so you can start building a strong defense against these charges.

Definition of “Abuse” Under Texas Law

According to the Texas Family Code, abuse of a child includes:

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Forth Worth crimes against children attorney

Criminal consequences for crimes against children in Texas can be life-changing. If you are convicted of child pornography, sexual assault of a child, kidnapping and abduction, or a similar offense, you could face years behind bars and a lifetime of stigma. You may also be required to register as a sex offender and appear on the public sex offender registry. Even false allegations of any criminal act can dramatically damage your reputation. If you have been accused of a crime against a child, there are several steps that you should immediately take in order to give you the best possible chances of avoiding a conviction.

Do Not Say Anything to Police Until Your Lawyer Is Present

You have probably heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent” in the past, but you may be unsure as to what this actually means. In the United States, anyone who has been placed under arrest has the right to remain silent and not respond to police questioning. Never allow police to interrogate you without your lawyer present. An experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are not violated and that you do not inadvertently say something that could incriminate you.

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Collin County crimes against children defense attorney

There is a significant amount of controversy surrounding corporal punishment in the United States. Some parents feel that spanking their children is an effective form of discipline, while others avoid any form of physical punishment. Data shows that the percentage of parents using corporal punishment is slowly declining. According to a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, approximately 37 percent of children under 18 were spanked by a parent or guardian in 2014. It is important for any parent choosing to employ corporal punishment to understand when spanking or other physical punishments may break the law and be considered crimes against children.

Understanding Texas Law Regarding Bodily Injury to a Child

It can be hard to know exactly when the physical punishment of a child crosses the line into abuse. According to Texas law, hitting a child could constitute “assault bodily injury family violence” or “injury to a child” depending on the circumstances. The Texas Penal Code states that an individual commits injury to a child if he or she intentionally or recklessly causes bodily or mental injury to a child under 15 years of age. Assault with a bodily injury of a family member occurs when a person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes pain, injury, illness, or impairment to a family member. Striking a child does fit these definitions; however, it is very unlikely that a parent or guardian would be convicted of these crimes for spanking alone.

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