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What Actions Can Result in Neglect and Abandonment Charges in Texas?

 Posted on November 26, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Tarrant County child endangerment defense attorney

When it comes to children, the terms “neglect” and “abandonment” are often used together; however, these are two separate legal issues. Child neglect is a term used in the Texas Family Code to describe a situation in which a child is left unattended in an unsafe environment. Abandoning a child is defined in Texas Penal Code as not providing “reasonable and necessary care for the child” and leaving the child in a situation that most reasonable adults would not allow. If you have been charged with child abandonment in Texas, the penalties can be severe. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling crimes against children can help clear your name and avoid a criminal record.

Being Accused of Child Neglect

According to Texas law, parents are responsible for providing children with necessities like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and appropriate supervision. The Texas Family Code identifies several acts that are considered neglect. These include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing a child to be exposed to the risk of mental or physical harm

  • Allowing a child to be in a situation in which a “reasonable” person would know is unsafe and that results in a substantial risk of harm, bodily injury, or sexual contact

  • Failing to provide adequate medical care to the child

  • Failing to provide basic necessities to the child

Child neglect is not a criminal offense in Texas, but being accused of neglect could lead to criminal charges such as child endangerment or child abandonment. Being accused of child neglect can also lead to an investigation by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the potential removal of the child from one's home.

Child Abandonment Laws in Texas

The Texas Penal Code describes the crime of abandoning a child as leaving a child under age 15 without reasonable care or supervision or exposing the child to an unreasonable risk of harm. Child abandonment is typically a state jail felony offense in Texas if the individual accused of abandonment intended to return to the child. If the individual did not intend to return to the child, child abandonment is a third-degree felony. If the child is left in a situation that a reasonable person would think presents an imminent risk of bodily injury or death, child abandonment is a second-degree felony. Penalties for child abandonment vary depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime, but they can range up to 20 years of incarceration and $10,000 in fines in some cases.

Contact a Plano, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Accusations of child abandonment and/or neglect can lead to serious consequences in Texas. If you or a loved one have been charged with these offenses, you need a strong advocate on your side who can help you understand the best ways to defend against criminal charges and keep your family intact. Contact a diligent Fort Worth child neglect and abandonment defense attorney from The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. today. Attorney Darlina Crowder has secured more than 300 acquittals and not guilty verdicts for her clients. Call our office at 214-544-0061 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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