Maryland Child Abuse Attorneys
Protecting Your Future Through Aggressive Advocacy
If you are facing charges for child abuse, you likely have a million things running through your mind. What will your future look like and how will this affect your relationship with the child in question? What about your other loved ones?
If convicted, these questions will not have happy answers; rather, a conviction for child abuse will most certainly carry a strong penalty in Maryland. It is, therefore, crucial to have a capable defense lawyer who can give you a strong fighting chance in court.
Alpert Schreyer has a team of experienced attorneys who are fully prepared to fight for you. We understand how terrifying it is to be charged with child abuse, especially when that charge seems to come out of nowhere. Over our more than 30 years of practice, we have defended thousands of clients in criminal cases from our offices in Bowie, Frederick, Lexington Park, Prince Frederick, Waldorf, and Rockville. When you need us, we are here to take your call.
To get in touch with a Maryland child abuse lawyer, call (301) 321-7277 today. Initial consultations are free!
The Legal Definition of Child Abuse
Although the word “abuse” can seem a bit vague, the legal definition is stated in the Code of Maryland as a “physical injury sustained by a minor as a result of cruel or inhumane treatment or as a result of a malicious act under circumstances that indicate that the minor’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened by the treatment or act.” Note that a minor is classified as a person under the age of 18. There are different terms for children under the age of 13, however.
A charge for child abuse may involve:
- Physical abuse: causing physical injury to the child
- Sexual abuse: rape, molestation, exploitation, and child pornography
- Emotional abuse: intentional verbal, mental, or psychological abuse
- Neglect: failing to provide proper care and attention to the child
The fact of the matter is that the laws around what is acceptable for a child’s upbringing have changed over the years. Time after time, we have seen parents and other adults find themselves in legal trouble for doing something they did not know was illegal.
Types of Child Abuse Charges & Penalties
There are different categories of child abuse that a defendant’s criminal charges could fall into, all of which have harsh penalties.
In Maryland, first-degree child abuse is when an authority figure—either a family member, household member, or custodian/caregiver—is intentionally cruel to the child, to the point that they cause severe physical injury to the child. Starvation, traumatic brain injuries and concussions, partial paralysis, and disfigurement are a few severe injuries that would warrant a first-degree child abuse charge. A severe injury also includes any treatment of a minor that endangers or ends the child’s life.
If convicted of a first-degree charge, you may face a prison sentence of up to 25 years. In the event that child abuse ends in death to the child, the prison sentence will only lengthen.
Second-degree child abuse is when a custodian/caregiver or family or household member is purposely cruel or inhumane in their treatment of the child, resulting in injury. A conviction for child abuse of the second degree may result in up to 15 years in prison.
Sexual Abuse of a Person Under the Age of 18
Sexual abuse of a minor is a highly punishable act in the state of Maryland. Please note that there does not have to be any visible physical injuries present in these cases. The term “sexual abuse” refers to an act that involves the sexual molestation or exploitation of a minor, regardless of whether physical injuries are sustained.
The state also has strict penalties for those who engage in the sex trafficking of minors. In fact, Maryland passed legislation to include this as a classification of child abuse in 2012. In the event that a family or household member attempts to sell or trade the sexual acts of a minor for money or property, conviction will bring a penalty of five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
Neglect of a Minor
Per state law, neglect of a minor is when a family/household member or custodian intentionally fails to provide for the child to the point that their physical or mental health needs are not met. Further, this intentional failure must put the child at risk of physical or mental injury. (A “mental injury” is defined as an impairment to the child’s ability to function either mentally or psychologically.) It is important to note that no one can be charged for neglecting a child if the failure to provide for them was a direct result of a lack of financial resources.
A conviction for the neglect of a minor carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Contact a Maryland Child Abuse Lawyer
If you have been charged with child abuse in the state of Maryland or believe that you are at risk of facing this sort of charge, this is a serious matter. Speak with an experienced attorney at Alpert Schreyer to help protect your rights and freedom. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction may result in fines, incarceration, social stigma, reduced job and housing opportunities, and an altered relationship with the child in question. We will work to reduce the impact of a criminal charge, thereby protecting your future.
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