Parents in the greater Dallas area know the difficulties involved with raising or caring for children. It is especially difficult when one considers how easy it is to get frustrated with kids, probably a big fear many Texas parents face is getting accused of child abuse or neglect.
In part because no one wants to see a child hurt, state authorities and others encourage the public to report suspected mistreatment. The law requires many people in this state either to report suspected abuse or neglect or to face penalties themselves.
Once a report comes in, Texas’s Child Protective Services, or CPS, will aggressively investigate the case. When starting an investigation, CPS will not consider the possible motives for the report, even if it comes in the wake of a divorce or custody dispute.
The end result is that a parent could wind up facing a serious felony charge after an investigation.
For example, if a parent is accused of touching their own child abusively and of actually hurting the child, they could face a third-degree felony. The penalty for this felony is between 2 and 10 years in prison.
Likewise, in a range of circumstances, a parent can face a felony charge of endangering or abandoning a child.
Basically, any alleged behavior on the part of the parent, including an omission, that could have hurt a child’s (under 15) mental or physical health could lead to between 180 and 2 years in jail.
Parents accused of abuse or neglect should understand their legal defenses
In addition to jail time, fines and other consequences may apply after a criminal conviction for an offense related to child abuse.
There are some occupations and other opportunities that simply will not be open to someone convicted of a crime in which the victim is a child. The accused parent’s custody and parenting time may be restricted, and they also lose important civil rights. Noncitizens could face deportation over child abuse allegations
In part because the stakes are so high, accused parents should remember that there are defenses against criminal charges involving abuse or neglect and they should explore all options.