Virginia Child Abuse Lawyer
Child abuse is taken seriously in Virginia and can result in jail time. A child abuse charge will affect the rest of your life if convicted. Therefore, contacting an experienced Virginia child abuse lawyer is crucial to help you build a defense and protect your legal rights. Call and schedule a consultation today with a domestic violence attorney to get started.
Child Abuse Charges
A Virginia child abuse lawyer can assist with the variety of different factors that can constitute child abuse violations in Virginia. The Code of Virginia specifically breaks it apart into five different categories with things that can constitute as child abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Physical neglect
- Medical neglect
- Mental abuse or neglect
- Sexual abuse
Generally speaking, the first step in a Virginia child abuse investigation is headed by the Virginia agency called VSF that handles abuse investigations. Often, they begin a civil investigation, meaning the agency will get involved in determining what, if any, governmental intervention is necessary to protect the future interest of the child. If the investigation proceeds to the law enforcement level as it sometimes does, then the government will get involved from a law enforcement standpoint where the police might investigate and the prosecution might charge people with the crime.
Penalties and Consequences
Child abuse in Virginia is reported and it goes up to a law enforcement level and the person has the possibility of being arrested and charged with a crime. Once they are arrested, they are taken to jail. Whether or not they get a bond depends on the severity of the crime itself as being alleged, but certainly, the immediate consequence is an arrest and a possible detention in jail at which point that individual should consult with a Virginia child abuse attorney.
The person will have a criminal record which involves violence towards children or neglect towards children, but if it is their own child, they might face a possibility of the government instituting something called a removal procedure. A removal procedure is a procedure whereby DSS will go to the court and file a petition to the juvenile domestic relation in district court to have custody of that child removed from the parent or parents who are involved in the abuse. In some cases, they are able to succeed and children might end up in foster care as a result of the proceedings.
There are a number of different ways that criminal cases can affect civil cases. Most notably and perhaps most commonly, among these are parents who start to divorce or are in the process of getting divorced, and one parent accuses the other parent of some form of child abuse or child neglect. The consequences of that allegation will certainly be a topic of consideration in determining who is going to have custody of that child when the divorce proceeding go to court.
Then again, an alternative consideration that people have to think about is the possibility that the government, even if the parents are united, the government might move or remove the child from their custody if the allegations are severe enough. A Virginia child abuse lawyer should, therefore, be contacted as soon as possible.
Regarding a civil case, it generally cannot affect the case. The result is not binding on any criminal court. In fact, it is not even relevant or admissible. However, if the civil case precedes the criminal case and the parent or parents of that child elect to testify in their defense at the civil hearing, then that testimony would be admissible to be used against them in a criminal proceeding. People need to tread very lightly if they have a removal proceeding set forth against them while a criminal charge is pending.
It is a bad idea to testify on a person’s behalf if they have pending criminal charges because the government will be able to access that testimony and they will be able to use that against them either as impeachment evidence or a direct evidence in any future criminal trial.
Contacting a Virginia Child Abuse Lawyer
These are serious charges that are taken very seriously by the prosecutors and if the person is charged with criminal child abuse or child neglect, there tends to be a real possibility of not only sustaining a conviction but also having their parental rights terminated by the court or have the child removed from their custody.
Considering the exceptionally damaging consequences that can result from a charge of this nature, a person should contact a Virginia child abuse attorney as soon as they find out that they are being investigated because the delay in retaining counsel can prove to be extraordinarily damaging to the case. It is crucial to contact an experienced child abuse lawyer in Virginia immediately if you have been charged to begin your case.