You survived a miserable divorce and thought you had made it through the worst of it—but you could not have been more wrong. After a nasty custody battle that gave you limited visitation, now your ex is accusing you of the worst thing imaginable: hurting your own children. Your life has been turned upside down, and you know things can get much, much worse. Now, more than ever, you need a tough, no-nonsense criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights.
In addition to the obvious damage to your relationship with your children, you are facing some serious penalties if convicted of these crimes:
- Child Neglect: If you are found guilty of neglecting your children while they are in your care—failing to provide proper food, shelter, supervision, and so forth, you could face a year in the county jail, on top of $2,000 in fines.
- Child Abuse: Intentionally inflicting physical harm on children is a serious matter, and a guilty verdict could put you in prison for six years, in addition to fines as high as $6,000.
- Child Molestation: When children suffer sexual molestation at the hands of an abuser, that abuser could go to prison for eight years for each act of molestation.
- Continued Sexual Abuse: When convicted of three or more acts of sexual abuse of a child, an abuser could go to prison for 16 years.
Defending the Case
Defending child abuse cases can be tricky because emotional testimony by a hysterical ex is convincing, especially if there is physical evidence to indicate the possibility of abuse. Sometimes children are manipulated by a vengeful parent or are eager to please that parent, ultimately sharing fabricated stories that they have no idea will destroy your life. The truth is society is eager to protect children and will frequently find a defendant guilty on the slimmest of evidence. That is why it is critical that you take immediate steps to protect yourself:
- Do not speak to anyone, including the family, friends, and the police, about the charges without having your attorney present.
- Do not have anything on social media that might present you as anything short of a model citizen and loving parent.
- Share details of all child visits with your attorney, as well as the history of your relationship with your ex.
- Help your attorney to gather a list of personal references—preferably those who have seen you interacting with your children.
- Cooperate fully with Child Protective Services and their investigation.
- Do not contact your ex or your children in an effort to understand the charges or convince them to drop them.