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Can Claims of Child Abuse Lead to Family Violence Charges in Texas?

Posted on in Family Violence

Collin County criminal defense attorney child abuse

There are a wide variety of situations where a person may be accused of family violence. In many cases, these accusations will involve claims that a person has committed assault against a spouse or dating partner. While these types of claims can be serious, a person will likely face even more severe consequences if they are accused of committing family violence against children. Parents will want to understand how the laws in Texas apply to situations involving claims of child abuse or endangerment, and by working with an experienced lawyer, they can determine their best options for defense.

Child Abuse

The Texas Family Code specifies multiple different forms of abuse against children that fall under the category of family violence. These include:

  • Causing substantial physical injury to a child or making a genuine threat of inflicting substantial physical harm.

  • Sexual conduct that causes physical or emotional harm to a child, including sexual assault, continuous sexual abuse, and indecency with a child.

  • Compelling a child to participate in sexual conduct, including engaging in prostitution or child pornography.

  • Using controlled substances in a way that causes physical or emotional harm to a child.

  • Allowing or encouraging a child to use controlled substances.

Accusations of these forms of child abuse could result in a person being charged with domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, or continuous violence against the family. Domestic assault is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but charges may be elevated to a felony in situations where a child suffered serious physical harm.

Child Endangerment or Abandonment

A person may also face criminal charges if they are accused of putting a child in danger. Child endangerment charges may apply if a person intentionally or recklessly acted in a way that put a child at risk of bodily injury, physical or mental impairment, or death. The Texas Penal Code also states that a person is presumed to have committed child endangerment in the following cases:

  • They manufactured, possessed, or used methamphetamines in the presence of a child.

  • Because of a person’s proximity to methamphetamines, these drugs were present in a child’s body based on an analysis of their blood, urine, or other bodily substances.

  • They used controlled substances included in Penalty Group 1 in the presence of a child, including through ingestion, injection, or inhalation.

In addition to child endangerment charges, a person may face charges of child abandonment if they leave a child alone without providing the care that a reasonable person would provide based on the child’s age and abilities. These charges will apply if abandonment of a child under the age of 15 put the child at an unreasonable risk of suffering harm.

Child endangerment is a state jail felony. Child abandonment is a state jail felony if the person intended to return and retrieve the child. If a person did not intend to return for the child, child abandonment is a third-degree felony, and if abandonment would cause a reasonable person to believe that a child would be in imminent danger of bodily injury, physical or mental impairment, or death, a person may be charged with a second-degree felony.

Contact Our Denton County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been accused of committing abuse against a child, or if you are facing charges of child endangerment or abandonment, you will want to secure representation from an experienced lawyer who can help you determine the best defense strategy. At Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C., we can provide the legal help you need, and we will work to protect your rights and help you avoid consequences that could affect your family relationships, your reputation, and your freedom. Contact our Fairview child abuse defense attorneys today at 469-333-3333 to arrange a complimentary consultation.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.261.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.71.htm

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