Newport News Child Abuse Lawyer

The charge of child abuse could take on many forms and ranges from contributing to the delinquency of a minor to a sex offense against a child. Due to the breadth of charges that these laws cover, anyone accused of the mistreatment of a minor is likely to be overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed.

Depending on the circumstances of a charge, a person might face severe and far-reaching penalties. However, if you were accused of the neglect or mistreatment of a minor, you do not have to fight your charges alone and might benefit from reaching out to a Newport News child abuse lawyer for help. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases could investigate the circumstances of your charges and work to build a defense.

What Constitutes Child Abuse?

According to state law, there are two versions of child abuse: active abuse and passive abuse, which is often defined as neglect. Child abuse could be actively causing harm to a minor through an injury, while passive abuse could be putting the child in bad situations in which they run the risk of harm.

Passive abuse could be done, for example, by not protecting a minor from a dangerous situation. Therefore, if a person is in a house with a dangerous weapon, they might be accused of endangering a minor, despite them not actively giving the weapon to the child or using it against them.

After mistreatment is reported, the next steps depend on the specific circumstances of a case. If there are allegations of abuse made at school, for example, an investigation might be launched into the aggravating circumstances of the abuse. Often, Social Services will get involved and will conduct their own investigation into the case. They will ask questions of the child, as well as the parents and alleged abuser, and will usually make their charge based on this investigation. Due to the nuances of these cases, having the counsel of a Newport News lawyer who is familiar with claims stemming from the accusations of child abuse might be essential.

Consequences for the Mistreatment of a Minor in Newport News

Before a verdict is reached for charges of child abuse, an individual might have to leave their house while a case is pending. This is often done as s part of a voluntary protective order. If a person is convicted, they will likely lose custody and visitation rights of their child. Furthermore, these charges might impact their job, and cause problems regarding background checks and access to firearms.

A conviction for these types of charges could either be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the nature of the case. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a misdemeanor, for example. If a person has a felony conviction, however, they lose their right to a firearm, their right to a vote, and their right to serve on a jury. These are the types of convictions that a person would have to disclose on any sort of job application, and could be considered barrier crimes that bar the person from certain options, such as adopting children in the future.

Due to this, anyone charged with child abuse should speak with a knowledgeable lawyer in Newport News to understand the scope of these accusations. An experienced attorney could help them to better understand the nuances of a case and guide them through the ensuing process.

How Civil and Criminal Cases Might Affect Charges

Generally, a civil case and criminal case are separate avenues. Essentially, in civil cases, there is a different legal standard that is applied. Civil cases are based on a preponderance of the evidence, whereas criminal cases involve proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Therefore, if an individual is charged with a civil offense, it does not automatically mean they will be convicted of a criminal offense. In fact, a civil finding is not admissible in a criminal case. However, if there is a successful civil finding of abuse, it might spur the prosecution on in a criminal case to pursue the trial.

If, on the other hand, the civil case is unsuccessful and they do not have any sort of additional evidence, then it is not likely to proceed as a criminal case. If they cannot meet the preponderance of the evidence standard, they will most likely not meet proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Furthermore, for civil cases involving custody, a person’s character plays a role and, as a result, convictions are always considered when determining a person’s character. Therefore, if an individual has a custody case but also has a conviction for the mistreatment of a minor, that is going to be a very high hurdle to overcome. While having the charges dropped might mitigate some of that, the mere act of being charged and investigated is a problem. As a result, hiring a hardworking and seasoned Newport News attorney for charges of child abuse could prove to be essential.

Speak to a Newport News Child Abuse Lawyer

The mistreatment of a minor is a serious offense in the State of Virginia. If convicted, offenders could lose their custody, their home, their firearms, and more.

Therefore, reaching out to a Newport News child abuse lawyer could be helpful if you were accused of any form of neglect or mishandling of a minor. A persistent attorney could answer your questions about the charges, the law, and your legal options, as well as work tirelessly to build a defense to protect your rights. To begin working on your case, call a legal professional today.