Allegations of child abuse can change a person's life, even if he or she is never found guilty. People are often judged harshly when they are accused of abuse. In addition to losing contact with their children, many face criminal charges. At Suzuki Law Offices, we defend people against violent crime charges in Arizona. Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for clients, offering the support and guidance they need during this difficult time.
If you or someone you love was arrested for child abuse, please contact Suzuki Law Offices. We are available 24/7 to review your case in a free initial consultation.
Defining Child Abuse in Arizona
Under Arizona's child abuse law, several different actions can be categorized as child abuse. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13.3623, an individual can be charged with child abuse if they cause a child to suffer physical injury, cause or permit a child to be injured while under their care, or cause or permit a child to be placed in a situation where their well-being is endangered.
Under the law, any of the following actions would be considered abuse:
- Knowingly neglecting or abandoning a child
- Inflicting injury or allowing a child to be injured
- Sexual conduct with a minor or sexual exploitation
- Bringing a child to an area where drugs are produced
- Causing the unreasonable confinement of a child
- Causing serious emotional damage to a child
Is Child Abuse a Felony or Misdemeanor?
In Arizona, child abuse is a felony; however, the charges can range from a class 6 felony to a class 2 felony, depending on the case. For example, if the abuse is likely to produce injury or death, the defendant will face more serious charges.
When child abuse is likely to produce death or serious physical injury:
- If the abuse was intentional, the offense is a class 2 felony
- If the abuse was reckless, the offense is a class 3 felony
- If the abuse was criminally negligent, it’s is a class 4 felony
When child abuse is not likely to produce death or serious physical injury:
- If the abuse was intentional, the offense is a class 4 felony
- If the abuse was reckless, the offense is a class 5 felony
- If the abuse was criminally negligent, it’s a class 6 felony
What is the Penalty for Child Abuse?
- Class 6 felony – up to 1.5 years in prison and $750 to $150,000 in fines
- Class 5 felony – up to 2 years in prison and $750 to $150,000 in fines
- Class 4 felony – up to 3 years in prison and $750 to $150,000 in fines
- Class 3 felony – up to 7 years in prison and $750 to $150,000 in fines
- Class 2 felony – up to 10 years in prison and $750 to $150,000 in fines
Suzuki Law Offices Is Ready to Defend Your Rights
Before entering private practice, Attorney Richard Suzuki gained valuable experience working as a Deputy Maricopa County Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney. His experience in federal court and his insights into prosecution tactics provide an invaluable advantage to clients facing serious felony charges such as child abuse. If you have been arrested, our Phoenix child abuse defense lawyers are ready to protect your rights. Contact Suzuki Law Offices today to get started.
Potential Defense to Child Abuse Accusations
The moment you are accused of child abuse or neglect, hire an attorney immediately. Your attorney can begin investigating the details surrounding your accusations and building a defense that can weaken the prosecution's case.
Some potential defenses for child abuse charges can include:
- False accusations - False claims are not uncommon, as children can be easily manipulated when they are under stress or being pressured by another adult. For instance, during custody battles, a parent may manipulate a child to claim abuse in order to win custody.
- Injury due to other circumstances - It's a fact that children can get hurt in activities such as playing or riding a bike. Unless the injuries stem from extreme negligence, then you are not likely to face criminal charges.
- Parental discipline - As a parent, you have the right to reasonably discipline your children as long as the discipline doesn't result in bodily injuries.
- Religious exemption - In Arizona, there is a limited exemption for certain religious groups. If you fall under this category, you may be able to use this exemption as a defense.
A conviction for child abuse can jeopardize your future and reputation, which is why it is crucial to have a strong, experienced attorney on your side from start to finish.
"He answered all my questions free of charge and was very helpful."Linda
"Richard J Suzuki is an outstanding lawyer, extremely professional and responsive. The absolute best experience, my family and I were beyond content with the overall outcome."Rosa
"When I got into trouble with the law I didn’t know where to turn. Mr. O’Sullivan was immediately assigned to my case and I felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders."Justine F