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Allegations about child abuse and neglect can end with removing your children, criminal conviction, and time behind bars. To protect yourself, work with a sex crimes lawyer immediately. The team at LHA can help.
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Child Abuse & Neglect Lawyers in Cincinnati
It sets off a legally complicated and emotionally devastating process when people are arrested or even accused of child abuse and neglect in Ohio or Northern Kentucky. People are quick to judge those charged with child abuse and neglect, and prosecutors are known to seek maximum penalties. These punishments include prison, fines, and being separated from your kids.
If you face child abuse charges, you must understand what’s happening and defend yourself aggressively. Call the experienced and dedicated defense lawyers in the Cincinnati area at Luftman, Heck & Associates. Let us investigate and protect you against child abuse and neglect charges.
Free Consults 24/7: (513) 338-1890.
Child Abuse & Neglect Laws in Ohio
According to the Ohio Revised Code 2151.031, child abuse is defined as:
- Sexual abuse or behavior.
- Risking or threatening the health and safety of a child.
- Causing mental or physical injury.
Child neglect is a different criminal offense than child abuse. Under ORC 2151.03, a neglected child
- Has been abandoned by their parents or guardian.
- Lacks adequate parental care.
- Has insufficient food, education, medical care, or necessities for their health or well-being.
Ohio law also states that no individual should engage in the following actions with someone under 18 or a mentally or physically disabled child under 21. Such activities may result in child endangerment charges:
- Abuse /torture of a child.
- Deliberately inflicting pain for discipline, physically restraining a child in a harmful way that is excessive and creates a substantial risk of danger or harm.
- Repeated administration of unwarranted disciplinary measures on a child
- Coercion, enticement, use, or permission of a child to participate in a situation that is obscene or has sexual implications.
- Operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child is present in the vehicle.
According to ORC 2903.15, permitting child abuse occurs when a parent, guardian, or other person having custody of a child under 18 (or of a mentally or physically disabled child under 21 years of age) allows the child to be abused, tortured, restrained, or disciplined in a manner that results in serious physical harm or death.
Penalties for Child Abuse & Neglect
Even being accused of child abuse or child neglect can damage your reputation. But allegations are not convictions. And like other crimes, the penalties you face for child abuse and neglect in Cincinnati will depend on the details, your previous criminal record, and the severity of the abuse.
First Offense of Child Abuse
Most first-time child abuse and neglect charges are first-degree misdemeanors. A conviction would mean up to six months in jail, $1,000 in fines, and 200 hours of community service.
In cases where you’re charged with an OVI while having a child in the vehicle, you also face a one-year driver’s license suspension.
OVI Charges with a Record of Abuse
If you are convicted of an OVI while having a child in the vehicle and have a prior history of child abuse or neglect, you will be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This entails a minimum of six months, up to a year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, 200 hours of community service, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
Prior Convictions of Child Abuse & Neglect
For a subsequent child abuse offense or cases that resulted in a child being seriously injured, you will be charged with a fourth-degree felony. This has a minimum sentence of six months and up to 18 months in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, 200 hours in community service, and a one-year driver’s license suspension if it’s an OVI.
Abuse Charged for Punishing a Child
If you face child abuse and neglect charges in Cincinnati related to excessive corporal punishment, you may be charged with a third-degree felony. This is punishable by a minimum of one year, up to five years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and 200 hours of community service.
Child Abuse & Neglect with Injuries
In Cincinnati, child abuse and neglect cases involving severe physical harm to the child, excessive corporal punishment, or a subsequent offense of extreme corporal punishment are a second-degree felony. This exposes the accused to a minimum of two years, up to eight years in prison, up to $15,000 in fines, and 200 community service hours.
Other Consequences of Child Abuse & Neglect
Aside from prison, fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record, a child abuse or neglect conviction can result in other types of lasting damage.
The scrutiny of the criminal and CPS investigation will undoubtedly impact your reputation. You may be separated from your children while the case is pending or lose your job because of the accusations.
These are emotionally charged situations with severe penalties and consequences. How you handle child abuse and child neglect charges early can make a big difference if your case is resolved and the ultimate impact on your life. It’s best to consult a lawyer and build a strong defense.
Defenses to Child Abuse & Child Neglect
Every case of child abuse and neglect is as unique as this involved. While abuse charges can come from virtually anywhere and cover many scenarios, you must take them seriously.
Your ex may be making false claims that you abused your child to gain the upper hand in a custody matter. But you should try to explain the matter alone. A lawyer is better equipped to highlight inconsistencies, point to weak evidence of abuse or child neglect, and ultimately build your defense strategy. An effective defense is the best way to get child abuse charges dismissed or reduced.
Some common examples of defenses used in child abuse cases include:
- Lack of Evidence: Police and CPS investigators are sometimes too aggressive, and people find themselves charged with child abuse or neglect when there is insufficient evidence. Evidence in abuse cases often includes medical reports and witness statements, but if you can show there isn’t enough proof that you caused the child injury or harm, you may be able to have the case dropped.
- False Child Abuse Allegations: Whether you’re accused of child abuse because of a mistake or malice, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with false accusations that you hurt a child. Working with a lawyer can better demonstrate how you could not have committed the act. For example, maybe you were not with the child on the day they were injured, or there’s evidence the child’s other parent coached them into making a false claim.
- Intent & Causation: Child abuse and child neglect charges require that the child’s injuries result from an intentional act. Therefore, accidental injuries do not rise to criminal neglect or child abuse.
- Your Parental Right to Discipline: Ohio law gives parents and guardians the right to administer punishment so long as it does not cause severe injury or death. If you can show that abuse claims stemmed from lawfully disciplining your child, you cannot be convicted of abuse or neglect.
A Child Abuse & Neglect Lawyer Can Help
Many individuals are charged with child abuse and neglect every day in Cincinnati. If you are among them, it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced defense lawyer.
Allegations of domestic violence and crimes against children should not be taken lightly, and you should never speak to the police, CPS, or a prosecutor without consulting an attorney. It may be tempting to try and explain the situation, but child abuse cases are often complicated, and anything you say could worsen matters.
By working with an experienced defense attorney, you can better understand your rights and options, highlight legal mistakes in your case, and demonstrate how you never committed child abuse or neglect. A skilled lawyer can also facilitate your cooperation with CPS, negotiate for a favorable reduction in charges, and ultimately work out the best possible resolution.
Contact LHA for a Free Consultation
You don’t have to go through abuse or neglect charges alone. If you are under a CPS investigation or arrested for child abuse in Cincinnati, do not make any statements about legal help. At LHA, our Cincinnati defense lawyers know what you’re going through and how to assist you. Let us protect you and get the justice you deserve.