Can a Child Abuse Accusation Send Me to Jail?
If you are accused of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment in St. Louis or elsewhere in Missouri, it is possible that you could face criminal charges, legal proceedings, and potentially jail time. It is important to note though, that thankfully child abuse claims are typically subject to thorough investigations and legal processes to determine their validity. We are here to help.
At Combs Law Group, we firmly believe that protecting children from harm and ensuring their well-being is a fundamental responsibility that we all share. However, in the pursuit of this crucial goal, it is vital to strike a balance between addressing legitimate cases of child abuse and preventing false accusations that can unjustly harm innnocent individuals. If you have been accused of child abuse, and you believe the allegations are false or unjust, reach out to our criminal defense attorneys in St. Louis immediately.
Call us now at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free consultation and to ensure your innocence, your rights, and your future are all protected. Our legal team has years of experience fighting on behalf of our wrongly accused clients throughout Missouri.
False Child Abuse Claims in Missouri
Child abuse, as defined by Missouri Revised Statutes § 210.110, is “any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child’s care, custody, and control.” In Missouri, a large group of people – including medical professionals, teachers, first responders, religious ministers, and “any other person with the responsibility for the care of children” – are classified as “mandatory reporters”. They must report any suspected child abuse or neglect to the Missouri Department of Social Services. Fortunately though, particularly if you are on the receiving end of false allegations, these are often complicated affairs that involve multiple steps and processes. Between criminal proceedings, DSS hearings and administrative procedures, and family court hearings, you need a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer on your side, someone who is comfortable taking on all angles of your case and building an effective defense strategy.
Abuse or neglect of a child starts as a Class D felony, which carries with it up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, and increases to a Class A felony (10-30 years in prison, minimum of 15 years before parole can be granted) if the abuse involved sexual abuse or exploitation, or resulted in death.
By the same token, false reports are taken just as seriously. Under RSMo. § 210.165, false reports are considered illegal and punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, the same as failing to report abuse or neglect when required by law. These consequences may include charges of making false statements to law enforcement, perjury, or obstruction of justice.
If you are accused of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, it is crucial to speak with a Combs Law St. Louis child abuse attorney right away. An experienced lawyer can help protect your rights and shed some light on and guide you through the complex legal process. Call us today at St. Louis or fill out our online contact form.
How Do False Child Abuse Claims Materialize in St. Louis or Missouri?
False child abuse or neglect claims might be made for a variety of reasons in St. Louis or throughout Missouri, including:
- Attention seeking: In a family environment where the child feels neglected, they might make false claims of abuse, neglect, or abandonment to get attention.
- Leverage in a custody dispute: It’s not uncommon for spiteful spouses or soon-to-be-exes going through a divorce to entice a child into falsely accusing the other parent. This way, they have a better chance of getting full custody.
- Bitter children: If a child’s parent remarries or dates after the divorce or death of their other parent, the child may develop resentment for the new partner – particularly if the individual tries to discipline the child. In turn, the child may make a false claim of child abuse as a way to get rid of them.
Child abuse, neglect, and abandonment cases are all different, and you may have been falsely accused for a variety of reasons. Whatever the circumstance, we will work tirelessly to build a strong defense and challenge the evidence against you. It’s important to remember that the burden of proof rests entirely on the prosecution, and they must demonstrate your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reach Out to Us to Find Out if a Child Abuse Accusation Can Send You to Jail | Combs Law Group
False claims of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment are damaging, both in the short- and long-term. Don’t let your reputation get tarnished. Call a Combs Law Group St. Louis child abuse, neglect, or abandonment lawyer right now at (314) 900-HELP or fill out our online contact form.