Child Abuse, Neglect, or Abandonment Lawyer St. Louis, MO. Being accused of neglecting, abusing, or abandoning a child in St. Louis can easily be a parent’s worst nightmare. Not only will you be facing serious criminal charges, you may lose the custody of a member of your own family. In addition, your hard-earned reputation as a loving parent and valued member of the community will be forever tarnished.
At Combs Law Group, we are here to help parents facing these serious charges and fight fiercely on their behalf. Our firm has considerable experience handling all aspects of St. Louis child neglect cases, including both inside a courtroom and taking on the Missouri Department of Social Services. When you call us at (314) 900-HELP, you will be working with a firm that creates tailor-made defense strategies for all their clients and works tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Child Abuse and Neglect Laws in Missouri
Missouri, like most other states, has passed a number of laws and imposed requirements in recent years to strengthen its child abuse/neglect laws in the wake of nationally publicized child abuse cases. Since 2004, 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, specifically identifying themselves by name when doing so. The DSS takes these reports seriously–false reports are considered illegal and punishable as a class A misdemeanor, the same as failing to report abuse when required by law.
The state of Missouri’s child abuse laws can be found at MO RS 210.110 and MO RS 568.060. Abuse or neglect of a child starts out as a class D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. The law also stipulates that those convicted of child abuse/neglect in Missouri are ineligible for parole until they have served one year of their sentence. However, as the severity of the abuse or neglect increases, so does the punishment: if “serious emotional or physical injury” was inflicted, the minimum punishment is a class B felony, which carries with it 5-15 years in prison and a parole ineligibility of five years for child abuse convictions. And if child abuse involved sexual abuse/exploitation of someone under 14 years of age, or results in injuries which lead to a fatality, the charges are automatically a class A felony (10-30 years in prison, with a minimum 15 years before parole can be granted).
Child abuse and neglect cases are also reviewed by the DSS to determine if parents might lose custody of their children as a result. The DSS operates on a “preponderance of evidence” standard, which is different (and much less strict) than the standard used in criminal trials. If found responsible, the accused may appeal these decisions to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board (CANRB), which is composed of independent adjudicators that can further review cases. If found guilty of abuse, the state can revoke custody of a child from their parents and place children in alternative custody, such as with relatives or in foster care.
Some of our recent Victories
Our personalized criminal defense stragegies are made to get results, like the ones below:
2nd Degree Murder
2nd degree murder charges reduced to manslaughter: client only served 60 days house arrest.
First Degree Assault and Shooting From A Moving Vehicle
St. Louis County man has two felony charges dismissed.
Contact Child Abuse Law Firm in St. Louis, MO That Fights
Child abuse, neglect, or abandonment cases in St. Louis are often complicated affairs that involve multiple processes. Between criminal charges, DSS hearings and administrative procedures, and family/juvenile court hearings, those accused of child abuse or neglect in Missouri require a criminal defense lawyer who is comfortable taking on all angles of their case and formulating an effective strategy that deals with all facets and eventualities.
Combs Law Group is an experienced St. Louis criminal defense law firm that specializes in taking a unique, holistic approach to the defense process. Our firm intentionally limits the amount of cases we take in order to give every single one of our clients the one-on-one, personalized attention they deserve. We review every possible piece of evidence and create a strong, sound defense strategy that is driven to produce the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to experience what a top-rated St. Louis child neglect/abuse defense firm can do for you and your case.