Maryland Child Abuse Lawyer

Maryland defines child abuse as a physical injury sustained by a minor under the age of 18 years old as a result of cruel or malicious treatment. For inhumane treatment to be considered child abuse, there must be evidence that demonstrates the minor’s injuries are a direct result of that treatment.

If you have been accused of harming your children, you should contact a skilled Maryland child abuse lawyer immediately. A defense attorney could offer you critical legal advice and help you fight any charges brought against you.

Degrees of Child Abuse

State law defines child abuse in different degrees. Second-degree child abuse occurs when a parent abuses or neglects their child. First-degree child abuse may carry more serious penalties and typically involves behavior resulting in serious bodily harm to a minor or death.

In either situation, an accused individual may not be the guardian or parent. Law enforcement may charge a caregiver or another relative with child abuse if the incident occurred while the minor was under their care and responsibility. A child abuse attorney in Maryland could review a defendant’s case and determine what type of charge they may be facing based on the severity of the injuries to the minor.

What Happens After Someone Reports an Instance of Child Abuse?

When an agency receives a report of child abuse, they investigate the situation. Depending on the nature of the allegation, the investigation may begin with the police or Child Protective Services. Investigators review the allegations to determine the credibility of the claim. If they decide that there is probable cause to believe a child was abused, the accused party may be charged criminally and arrested, at which point the criminal case process begins.

If the allegation does not rise to the level of criminal child abuse, Child Protective Services may still become involved. There may be a civil process to address the custody and welfare of the child, depending on the specific nature of the allegation. State authorities take allegations of child abuse extremely seriously and may pursue an investigation based on an allegation even if the circumstances are only somewhat credible.

Evidence in Cases of Child Abuse

To prove child abuse in a criminal court case, there must be evidence that rises beyond the level of reasonable doubt enough to convince the trier-of-fact. There is no specific type of evidence that is required to prove abuse. However, cumulatively the evidence must be sufficient to meet this standard.

Evidence may include testimony, photographs, or statements made out of court. The weight that each type of evidence has depends on the circumstances and the nature of how the evidence relates to the case. A Maryland lawyer with experience litigating child abuse cases could help an accused individual collect evidence to build their defense.

Building a Defense

The specifics of any child abuse defense depend on the accusations, the nature of the evidence, and the facts of the case. When a minor witness is involved, there may be issues concerning the reliability of this child’s statements and whether they are an accurate reflection of the incident. A Maryland child abuse attorney could investigate the reliability of a minor testimony and argue that their statement is inaccurate and should not be used as evidence to find the defendant guilty.

There may be forensic evidence supporting the defendant’s innocence, or there may be significant gaps in the prosecutor’s evidence that can be highlighted by a defense attorney. The opposing party could also present a defense on the basis of an alibi if the accused was not present or could not have committed the offense as described.

Contact a Maryland Child Abuse Attorney Today

A person accused of abusing a minor should contact a lawyer because they may face serious consequences. In addition to the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, a conviction or an accusation may have tremendous negative social consequences on the defendant’s reputation, job, and educational opportunities.

Retaining the services of an experienced Maryland child abuse lawyer may protect you against those consequences if you are facing child abuse allegations. An attorney could use their experience in law and knowledge of court procedures to help you pursue an optimal outcome. To get started on your case, get in touch with legal counsel today.