Fairfield Child Abuse Lawyer
Being accused of domestic violence towards your child can have resounding implications on every part of your life that could potentially include the loss of custody rights and criminal sanctions like prison time. Working closely with a Fairfield child abuse lawyer is key to mitigating the repercussions of this kind of allegation in both criminal and family court and protecting your rights during legal proceedings.
How Does State Law Define Child Abuse and Neglect?
Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 46b-120 explains when a child may be considered “abused” or “neglected.” Those definitions are somewhat vague, as the statute intentionally leaves room for interpretation on a case-by-case basis by state authorities. In broad terms, “abuse” entails a child being physically injured or suffering harm from malnutrition, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, or unreasonably cruel punishment through something other than accidental means.
“Neglect,” on the other hand, involves a child not receiving appropriate care or living in conditions that do not serve their fundamental physical, emotional, educational, and moral needs. This specific section of state law does not categorize child abuse or neglect as a distinct criminal offense. Even if the Department of Children and Families (DCF) finds sufficient evidence to substantiate allegations of mistreatment, that does not necessarily mean the parent in question will also be convicted of or even charged with a crime.
That said, anyone who knowingly places or allows their child to be placed in a situation likely to physically harm or morally impair them may be charged with Risk of Injury to a Minor as defined by C.G.S. § 53-21. As a Fairfield child abuse attorney can explain, this offense is treated as a Class C felony. However, if the defendant is accused of having inappropriate contact with the child in question’s intimate parts or forcing the child to have such contact with someone else’s private parts, it becomes a Class B felony.
What is a DCF Investigation?
Whether it comes from a criminal charge, information from a mandatory reporter, or any other source, an allegation of child abuse or neglect in Connecticut will likely result in DCF opening an investigation into the accused party. This investigation may last up to 45 days and typically includes several rounds of interviews and in-home inspections. Conversations will also take place with other family friends, teachers, and community members, who may have information about what was or was not happening.
If the DCF finds enough evidence to conclude that abuse occurred, they will issue a finding that the allegation was “substantiated” and recommend further action. This may include reductions in parenting time or the total loss of custody rights. A child abuse attorney in Fairfield can provide irreplaceable assistance throughout every stage of an investigation like this, helping to ensure that a defendant does not inadvertently harm their own case by saying or doing something ill-advised.
Work with a Fairfield Child Abuse Attorney for Dedicated Legal Representation
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to contesting a child abuse accusation, and many factors could impact how your case plays out. Retaining skilled legal counsel is the best way to protect your interests and improve your chances of getting through this situation efficiently. Call The Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to discuss your circumstances with a Fairfield child abuse lawyer, and visit our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews to read what other clients have to say about working with us.