Texas Child Injury, Abuse, & Endangerment Charges
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The domestic violence laws and the potential charges related to child abuse in Texas are complex. Under the Texas Family Code, any act or failure to act that results in mental, emotional, or physical injury to a child is considered abuse. This definition not only covers obvious physical harm but could also apply to situations of neglect, exploitation, and where a child is put in danger.
Child Abuse & Injury to a Child in Dallas
Physical child abuse is normally charged under Texas Penal Code § 22.04, which prohibits Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual. This offense happens when a person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes bodily injury to a child or knowingly causes a child to be in a situation where their physical or mental health is at risk.
Child Injury Penalties
The severity of what someone accused of child abuse depends on the circumstances, but penalties range from a state jail felony (up to 2 years) to a first-degree felony (5 to 99 years or life imprisonment) if serious bodily injury is inflicted or if the accused has a prior record.
Child abuse and child injury cases are taken extremely seriously in Dallas, and prosecutors are aggressive about convictions. To successfully resolve these types of cases, your defense may involve challenging the evidence, questioning witness credibility, or demonstrating that the injuries were accidental or not caused by the accused.
Child Endangerment Charges in Dallas
Child abandonment and endangerment are separate charges, but both are covered under Texas Penal Code § 22.041. Child endangerment occurs when someone places a child under 15 in “imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”
Under this statute, endangerment can happen “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence,” which can apply to a broad range of cases. For example, possessing methamphetamine in the presence of a child is considered endangerment of a child in Texas. Another typical example of child endangerment under Texas law is when a child witnesses or is at risk of harm due to domestic violence between adults in the household.
Child Endangerment Penalties
Child endangerment is typically a state jail felony in Texas. This involves 180 days to two years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. However, if the courts believe you committed a child endangerment offense intending to cause serious injury or death, you can be charged with a second-degree felony. As a second-degree felony, child endangerment carries two to 20 years in prison and a max fine of $10,000.
Other Child Injury & Abuse Consequences
In addition to criminal penalties, you can face social consequences and lose various rights if convicted of child endangerment or child abuse in Texas. Such an offense on your record will undoubtedly influence a court’s decision on custody and visitation. It can also lead to losing your gun rights, limited job opportunities, revocation of your professional license, and more.
Because of the harsh consequences and penalties that a child injury charge carries, it is imperative to retain high-quality legal help as soon as possible.
Related Texas Child Injury & Abuse Charges
- Leaving a Child in a Vehicle (§22.10)
- Child abandonment (§ 22.041)
- Aggravated Assault of a Child (§ 22.01)
- Sexual Performance of A Child (§43.25)
- DWI with a Child Passenger ( § 49.045)
Accused of Hurting a Child in Dallas? Call Mike Howard.
Being charged with child endangerment, neglect, or abuse in the Dallas Metropolitan area can leave you feeling hurt and confused. You might be unsure how to prove your innocence and defend your family. Luckily, you do not have to face these charges on your own. A lawyer will be invaluable if you’re facing accusations of child endangerment, neglect, or abuse.
If you or a loved one are accused of harming or neglecting a child, your best option is to contact an experienced defense attorney as quickly as possible. At the Law Office of Mike Howard, we focus on seeing the person, not the charges. Let us explain your situation and guide you toward the best possible resolution so you can put the situation behind you.
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- A clear explanation of your case and your options.
- Your calls & messages will be answered within one business day.
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A Child Injury Defense Lawyer to Help You & Your Family
While it’s common to feel overwhelmed or anxious about the next steps, know that you have options if you’ve been charged with child abuse in Texas. Attorney Mike Howard will ensure that these options are explored and communicated with you. That way, you’ll feel empowered and informed about your case and understand the legal process fully.
Mike Howard understands your case is personal and will take an individualized approach to your defense. We’ll ensure your needs are met throughout the process, listen to your side without judgment, and passionately advocate for the best possible outcome. You deserve to move past a child injury charge and avoid the consequences of a conviction.
Your attorney can pursue alternatives like charge reductions, dismissals, or mental health counseling. This could spare you from time behind bars, losing custody of your children, and a life-altering conviction.
See Our Results
- Injury to a Child Causing Serious Bodily Injury – Deferred Probation
- Indecency with a Child – Not Guilty
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child – Not Guilty
Please visit our criminal defense resource center for more information about your rights and the legal process regarding child injury, abuse, and related charges in Dallas, TX.
Dallas Child Injury & Abuse FAQs
Who’s Required to Report Child Abuse or Neglect in Texas?
Everyone in Texas is required to report child abuse or neglect if they suspect it. Failure to do so can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge according to the Texas Family Code § 261.101.
Some individuals are even trained to look for signs of child abuse. In Texas, these mandatory “professional reporters” must report suspected child neglect and abuse to 911 or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) within 48 hours. Professional reporters include teachers, childcare providers, doctors, and more.
Is it Illegal to Make a False Child Injury Report?
Making a false report of child abuse in Texas intending to deceive is a criminal offense. If someone knowingly made a fraudulent accusation against you for child endangerment, they could be charged with a misdemeanor with possible jail time, depending on the circumstances.
Can I Be Charged for Disciplining My Child?
If you spank or otherwise discipline your child enough to inflict serious mental or physical injury, you can face charges. So whether the allegation against you is flat-out false, was legitimate child discipline, or was an unfortunate mistake, it is vital to secure the best possible defense.
Defending Against Child Injury Charges
The only way the prosecution can convict you of child endangerment or causing injury to a child is if they prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a jury has any reasonable doubts that it happened, they must find you not guilty. If they reasonably think it could’ve happened another way, they must find you not guilty. This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system. When implemented by an experienced Dallas child crimes attorney, it can be an effective tool in your defense.
Possible defenses to a child abuse charge include denying that there was any serious risk to the child or that you intended to cause harm. In some cases, a manipulative ex-partner might have reported child neglect or injuries to authorities to seek revenge. Attorney Mike Howard will ensure your story is heard and that any holes in the prosecutor’s arguments are highlighted.
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Together, we can get your life back.
When you’re ready to take the next steps, attorney Mike Howard is here to discuss your situation and design a plan to deal with Dallas child abuse allegations. Trust our experience, empathy, and ability to help put charges behind you.
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Located in the Element Towers West Building at 3010 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, Texas, attorney Mike Howard handles criminal cases across Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties at the state level and in the Northern and Eastern Districts at the federal level.