Riverside Child Neglect Attorney
In the heart of Southern California lies the beautiful city of Riverside. It rests along the banks of the Santa Ana River and is the proud home of many California residents who enjoy its picturesque scenery and mild climate. While the area is known to be beautiful all year round, it does not prevent the community from experiencing some of life’s most upsetting realities. This includes child neglect.
These issues are incredibly complicated and need to be reviewed closely by a criminal lawyer who can differentiate between charges of neglect and true accusations of abuse. If you have been accused of any form of child neglect, yet hold the position that you are innocent, working with a Riverside child neglect attorney can protect your freedoms and uncover what exactly occurred that led to this accusation.
What Is Child Neglect?
Child neglect is a form of abuse. It is an accusation that an individual has consistently displayed a pattern of failing to meet a child’s most basic human needs for survival. This could include neglecting to provide a child who is unable to fend for themselves with food or restricting their access to proper shelter, healthcare, education, and more. It is viewed as a widespread form of child maltreatment that poses a significant risk to their long-term development. Organizations, such as Child Protection Services (CPS), may be called upon to step in and remove a child from any unsafe situation until a California court rules on the child neglect accusation.
Some different categories of child abuse and neglect include:
- Physical Neglect: This is one of the hardest forms of abuse to hide. It can be extremely visible, such as in a child who appears extremely weak and malnourished due to a lack of access to proper food. Children who also appear to have a lack of hygiene could indicate that their access to the tools to keep themselves clean and healthy is being restricted. Aside from abuse spotted on the child’s body, physical neglect also includes when someone leaves a minor unsupervised for a long period of time when they are not old enough to take care of themselves properly.
- Medical Neglect: Because children are particularly vulnerable as they go through the life stages of development, medical issues could arise that need to be addressed promptly by healthcare professionals. For example, a child may be struggling with their mental health and need access to varying levels of therapy or medical intervention. Other common forms of medical issues that children run into, such as contracting pink eye, head lice, or poison ivy, demand quick evaluation and treatment to restore the child’s health. If anyone is proven to either actively restrict a child’s access to healthcare, or just appear to not care and would rather let a child suffer, they could be charged with medical neglect.
- Educational Neglect: A child is at least expected to enroll in the public school system and advance through thirteen different years of formal public instruction. This is an organized effort to prepare a child for adult life while offering a safe place for a child to grow and develop, both academically and socially, with their peers. Because this stage in a child’s life is vital to their development and well-being, an adult can be found liable for child neglect if they prevent a child from obtaining an education.
- Emotional Neglect: Just because neglect is not as obvious as a bruise on a child’s shoulder does not mean it is any less potent. Forms of emotional neglect can be just as harmful as those that are physical. For example, a child who consistently does not receive any form of emotional support or love during their most formative years of life can significantly suffer from varying levels of mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, or they may even develop suicidal tendencies. Simply ignoring a child’s request for emotional support can lead to the slow, yet impactful, onset of these mental health conditions.
While these categories outline some forms of child neglect, this is not an exhaustive collection of what could be happening to a child. It’s also worth mentioning that every child who is suffering from some form of physical or mental health issue may not always be a case of child neglect, specifically. There are a ton of life events and details within the family that need to be investigated to truly understand if there are any legal violations that have led to their suffering. Working with a child neglect lawyer can help uncover exactly what is happening and protect you from an unfair accusation.
What Are Common Criminal Defense Positions Against Child Neglect Accusations?
If someone is facing any accusation of child neglect, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to support their position with clear evidence. When those accused of child endangerment and neglect partner with an attorney, there are several different avenues that can be pursued to discredit the prosecution’s case. This includes:
- A Lack of Evidence: Child neglect is a huge accusation. It will not be ruled true by a court unless they are confident that the evidence clearly connects the neglect with what the prosecution is accusing the defense of doing. A criminal defense attorney can raise the point that there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their client is guilty. They can also combat a lack of evidence with their own evidence to demonstrate how the prosecution may be oversimplifying what has happened.
- False Accusations: Whether it is intentional or not, a false accusation is deeply concerning. Sometimes, people are misguided in thinking of how someone’s neglect may be due to child abuse, while other times, intentional lies are made to create a false premise of guilt. In either scenario, it is unfair to the individual being accused of these crimes. A defense attorney can leverage everything in their power to make false accusations clear to the judge and jury.
- Mistaken Identity: A defendant may argue that they have been wrongly identified as the person who bears responsibility for child neglect. Because children often interact with a ton of different adults that all share influence on a child’s upbringing, such as different family members, teachers, coaches, or other caregivers, there is a possibility that someone else is responsible and the defendant is being wrongly blamed.
- Good Faith: Sometimes, there are cases where a defendant agrees with the prosecution that a child has been neglected, but they had positive intentions and acted in good faith despite the outcome. For example, a parent might decide to homeschool their child, but it ends up putting them behind in their educational development. The parent can argue that they had the right intention to give them a different approach to education, but they made mistakes in the process that do not warrant legal prosecution. A good-faith defense is more likely to be successful if the parent being accused of neglect can show how they have tried to remedy the situation after realizing the impact it has had on the child. For example, they can present evidence that they had plans for the child to return to the public school system or spend time with a third-party tutor.
- Inability to Provide: There are legitimate scenarios where a defendant can argue they were unable to provide the necessary care. For example, a parent who might be suffering from their own mental health condition may be able to show how it has impacted their ability to effectively identify how their child is struggling or to intervene. They may also be able to demonstrate their own financial hardship and that their neglect was not intentional but rather an unavoidable consequence that has also impacted their own health and well-being.
- Parental Rights: A parent has many rights in the United States to raise their child as they believe is fit. This, of course, must be within the bounds of the law, but there is room for flexibility. Anyone accused of child neglect can work with their attorney to make the case that their actions were not a form of intentional neglect but rather a differing approach that does not violate any law.
Because the charges brought against someone for child neglect can have long-lasting consequences, a legal defense must be carefully crafted to prove their innocence. Being able to showcase that you did not intentionally cause harm to any juvenile will make a difference in how the court assesses the allegation. A final ruling that is fair and just will benefit the child the most. It will ensure that any recovery interventions are based on fact and not speculation. Getting to this stage is only possible with the support of a Riverside child neglect lawyer.
Contact My SoCal Lawyers Today
If you have been accused of child neglect in Riverside, CA, and do not believe yourself to be guilty, it’s time to find a solid legal team. At My SoCal Lawyers, we have been passionately defending inaccurate accusations of child neglect for years throughout Riverside. We know how scary and damaging this can be to your reputation, which is why we take as much time as needed to understand the full picture of what has happened and why you may have been wrongly accused. Contact us today.